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What do we mean by hospital acquired infection?

Hospital infection guide - nurse and patient

The definition of a hospital acquired infection (HAI), also known as a 'Nosocomial' infection, is an infection acquired during hospital care which was not present or incubating at the time of admission.  Infections which occur more than 48 hours after admission are also considered nosocomial.  It is thought that one of the major causes of HAIs is "hot bedding" - when a patient's bed and surrounding area is not vacant long enough for proper cleaning, due to hospital staff being under pressure to meet increasing targets.  In addition, a long length of stay in a healthcare setting makes patients more vulnerable to infection and large wards with a stream of emergency admittances make it difficult for wards to be thoroughly cleaned.


People go into hospital with the expectation of getting better, but anxiety about contracting a HAI during their time in hospital is causing many to take out private medical insurance or pay directly for private healthcare in the UK, or abroad, because infection rates are much lower, and in some cases non existent.


The two major 'Superbugs' are MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).

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