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Hospitals: 99,000 & Long-Term Care: 380,000

Mike Mann's picture

This headline is the CDC estimate of deaths caused by Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAI). They are rarely added. The math is easy, 479,000. The solution apparently is not.

When 100 people acquire a norovirus infection it makes front page news yet 479,000 annual HAI deaths goes by unnoticed. Here is another way to look at the scope of this issue.

USA overall annual deaths:

  1. Cancer 580,350
  2. Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) 479,000
  3. Heart Disease 380,000
  4. Lung Disease (CLRD): 144,000
  5. Stroke 130,000
  6. Accidents: 121,000
  7. Alzheimer's disease: 83,500
  8. Diabetes: 69,000
  9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,500
  10. Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,000

Most every infection prevention professional feels that over 40% of HAIs could be avoided with good hand hygiene. In 10 workshops conducted by Handwashing For Life Healthcare with Infection Preventionists, estimates ranged from 40 - 85%.

Continuing the math but on the conservative side, let's cut the HAI estimates from 479,000 down to 250,000 and multiply by the also conservative factor of 40%. Can we really save 100,000 lives annually via hand and high-touch surface cleanliness?

Long-Term Care (LTC) HAI numbers are stunningly high yet invisible. Join us in our attack of the inexcusable numbers in both hospitals and LTC.