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hospital acquired infections, popularly known as the nosocomial infections in adults, specifically elderly adults. In this research paper, the focus is built on infections caught by elderly people and the preventions that can be taken as measures to eradicate the causes of this infection. Research reports have been taken as references to describe the current situation of nosocomial infection spread in the American society and all over the world.
This infection is developed in a person after a visit to hospital within 48 hours or by patients who are discharged from the hospital and are diagnosed within 30 days of leaving the hospital. Patients who are diagnosed with such an infection carry diseases that are caused by fungal infections or through unsanitary conditions of the hospital environment (Norton, Barie, & Bollinger, 2008). Moreover, they catch infection through contamination from air droplets via sneezing or coughing and from contact with patients risked at given away infectious diseases. Mostly children and elderly adults are seen to acquire infections from hospitals because of the fact that their age represents a weaker or underdeveloped immune system that is vulnerable to all sorts of infections allergies and diseases. Often patients are exposed to certain unavoidable conditions where they catch up the infectious bacteria. The most common form of transmission of bacteria is the contact transmission, which passes down the body of a healthy patient through various methods of contact such as airborne, vectors, rodents etc. Every year, American hospitals report 1.7 million cases of nosocomial infections in people out of which 99,000 people are subjected to fatality. Unless the environment and instruments used in the hospitals are sterilized, people are more likely to get infectious diseases from hospitals than anywhere else is in the world (Nelson & Williams, 2007).
Defining what nosocomial infections are essentially based upon its determining factors, which state the important existence characteristics of the infections, itself. The presence and classification of the infection has to be a combination of clinical and laboratory findings. Unless these two criteria combine to give valid results, the infection cannot be considered nosocomial. The two types of evidences differ in their meaning however complement each other. If from the direct observation infection site is visible then it requires that laboratory tests be conducted in order to prove its credibility as a nosocomial infection. The laboratory evidence includes the results of the tests performed to analyze the source and type of the infection. Other supportive experiments that can be made to validate the process are done through diagnostic studies or x-rays. These diagnostic studies are different for children that are infants and older people. For an infection to be nosocomial it has to have been acquired from the hospital and appears after the patient or the person 'leaves' the hospital. Secondly, in infants the infection has to acquire passage from the birth canal (O'Donnell & Nacul, 2010). The situations where this infection is not considered valid states when the infection is already present inside the body however is dormant until some conditions stimulate it and secondly in an infant the infection has been acquired trans-placental and becomes evident before 48 hours of birth. Again, colonization of microorganisms is not considered a nosocomial infection as it prevails on the human body even before the person makes visit to the hospital and any type of inflammation is not considered a nosocomial infection. elderly patients or persons are considered to be more challenging while diagnosing the infectious diseases in their body and often do the diagnosis and treatment fail to achieve results before time causing higher chances of morbidity and mortality.
Nosocomial Infections caused in elderly patients as compared to younger adults are 60% greater in number and the most common type of infectious fever that is caught by elderly patients is the leukocytosis. Changes in elderly patients' bodies during infections are subtle and diagnoses are often irregular which makes it difficult to diagnose the infection itself and its cause. Usually they show agitating signs and complain of the infections in places that are unidentifiable for infections. Weight loss is another characteristic that can be considered as a main symptom of developing infections in elderly patients. Moreover, the elderly patient may complain of increased respiratory rate. According to a study conducted by Journal of The Indian Academy of Geriatrics, nosocomial infections occur in greater number when elderly patients are admitted to ICUs. Elderly group of adults have shown increasing rates over the past few years, which raises concerns for their health and care issues. Hospital acquired infections are once such area of concern where the elderly patients need special care (Allen, 2011).The prevalent nosocomial infections in elderly adults include the urinary tract infection, pneumonia, bloodstream infection, skin and soft tissues infections, gastro-enteritis, hepatitis and meningitis. The study conducted a sample test n elderly patients admitted to hospitals and found out considerable large number of validating results regarding nosocomial infections. The infection rose in patients within the 14 days of their stay at the hospital diagnosed with urinary tract infection, blood stream infection and pneumonia on a common scale. Majority of these infections were transmitted through the usage of invasive devices. The distribution of pathogenic diseases however was contributed to the spread of infection through the environment. The study showed urinary tract infections to be most easily caught by elderly patients and turns out to be the most common type of infection after pneumonia and respiratory infections like influenza. Nosocomial infections in elderly persons can be challenging if malnutrition or dietary problems are consistent. According to a research study published by Oxford Journal based on relationship between nosocomial infection and under nutrition, nosocomial infections, under nutrition are common, and relate each other in older patients especially when they are hospitalized under care of a rehabilitation unit. Under such conditions, the elderly patients are reported to have higher density of infections alongside old age being the basic reason for development of infection. Geriatrics is more vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections more than any class of population in this world. Unless the incidents with invasive devices controlled, the infections are more likely to widen in the coming few years. Early recognition of infections may be difficult in elderly patients however; prevention must be adopted so that they can live a happy and healthy old age. Systemized and standardized studies are carried out to understand the driving force of this infectious spread and preventive measures be taken so that the chances of such infections can be eliminated from the root (Katlic, 2011).
As a conclusion, preventive measures need to be adopted worldwide by hospitals and governments for their geriatric concerns. There are certain key factors, which continually contribute to the spread of such infectious diseases through hospital: poor standards of transfusion system. At many hospitals, the standards of transfusing blood are poorly maintained which are at high risk for blood stream infections. Increased use of invasive medical devices without proper training, Use of contaminated intravenous instruments, overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics leading to development of resistance inside the body against antibiotics and frequently unnecessary injections also contribute to nosocomial infections in elderly. Almost 50% of developing countries commit these mistakes and use of unnecessary injections such as nutrition injections makes its way top on the high-risk list. (Simonsen et al. 1999) hospitals can take preventive measures with a few simple steps that could avoid the spread of infections on a large scale. These methods are the basic requirements of any hospital environment however; they may not be followed in many developing countries as an important safety rule. Managing food and water sources should be the utmost concern of the hospital authority. This is the most common way an infection can pass on from one person to another. Cleaning and sterilizing the sources can keep them away from contaminating by bacteria. For hospital staff dealing with geriatrics safety precautions must be adopted on high level since they can become transmitting source of bacteria into healthy elderly patients. Proper sterilization of the instruments they use before and after any treatment must be carried out strictly. Moreover, dealing with isolated elderly patients may require them to wear contamination preventive uniforms. Be sure to keep them safe and secure from further prevention as you may unknowingly transmit one person's infection to another person. Frequent hand washing, using aprons and gloves at all times and using alcohol rubs to eradicate the microorganisms immediately after contact. A continuous source of clean and safe water for the staff and the visitors' would be separated from the patients' wards or laboratories to minimize chances of contamination. Other than, this hospitals and governments to prevent the infection can adopt many inexpensive strategies. The adherence to prevention practices specially relating to hygiene, a proper process for stabilizing the instrument and the overall environment of the hospital, a well developed process for decontamination of food sources, cleaning of instruments and other items are some basic prevention measures. With this, sterilization of instruments is also…[continue]
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