- January 5, 2021
- Steve Heisler
- Senior Injuries
Hospital infections are a serious and significant problem, especially for seniors. According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health, the risk of developing a healthcare-associated infection increases with age. Individuals age 65 to 74 have a 10.6% prevalence rate for a hospital-acquired infection. Individuals in the age group 75 to 84 have an 11.27% rate of getting a hospital infection. Patients over age 85 have an 11.5% hospital infection prevalence rate. Overall, the older you get, the larger your chances are of getting a hospital-acquired infection. Here are some things that help reduce your risk of getting a hospital infection:
Ask Everyone To Wash Their Hands
Ask that hospital staff to clean their hands before treating you. Also, it would help if you asked people who are visiting you to do the same. Handwashing is the single most crucial step to take to protect yourself in a hospital. During Covid, most people are not allowed in the hospital, so seniors need to stand up for themselves. Make sure that anyone in the room washes their hands first. If you are concerned about sounding too pushy or too aggressive, remember that your life is at stake.
Have Your Doctor Clean Their Stethoscope
When your doctor is ready to use their stethoscope on your diaphragm, make sure they wipe the surface with alcohol. Stethoscopes are frequently contaminated with bacteria. Hospitals are crazy busy, and the doctors will forget to do a lot of things. One thing that is often overlooked is wiping the stethoscope with alcohol. Going from patient to patient, a doctor can be in a serious rush. Unfortunately, this critical step is forgotten. So, remember to ask your doctor to clean the stethoscope before examining your diaphragm.
Ask About Certain Catheters
If you are required to have a central line catheter, ask your doctor about the benefits of a central line catheter that is antibiotic-impregnated or silver chlorohexidine-coated to reduce infection. Chlorhexidine reduces bacteria in the mouth and is commonly found in mouth wash. These catheters could lower your risk of infection. Ask a doctor to find out more.
Ask Your Doctor About Their Infection Rate
If you need surgery, choose a doctor with a low infection rate. The doctors know their infection rate, don’t be afraid to ask. Be persistent and make sure you find out what their infection rate is. You don’t need to worry about appearing too pushy. Remember that your life is at stake, and the rate of infection at hospitals is very high. You want to make sure that the odds of you getting an infection is as low as possible. So, find a surgeon who has a low infection rate. It will be a massive step in preventing your risk of getting a hospital infection.
Shower Daily With Chlorhexidine Soap
Three to five days before your surgery, shower or bathe daily with chlorhexidine soap. You can get this soap without a prescription. Find a list of chlorhexidine soap on Amazon HERE. This soap will remove dangerous bacteria from your body.
Get Tested For MRSA
Ask your doctor to have you tested for MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It is more challenging to treat than most staphylococcus aureus strains — or staph — because it’s resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Have this test done at least one week before you go to the hospital. If you have MRSA, you can take extra precautions to prevent an infection.
Another way to prevent hospital infections is to stop smoking long before you have surgery. If you refuse to quit smoking, just remember that smokers are three times more likely to get a surgical site infection than nonsmokers. Smokers endure slower recoveries, and they have to stay in the hospital longer. Hopefully, you can stop smoking long before your surgery; it will give you the best chances to get out of the hospital and have no infection. If you’re struggling to stop smoking, find a support system. You can also check out this article: 5 Tips For Seniors Trying To Quit Smoking.
Hospital Infection is another great resource. You can find it here: https://hospitalinfection.org.
Lastly, if you want to stay up to date with what is affecting our senior population, follow The National Injured Senior Law Center on Facebook.