Around ten per cent of hospitalised patients acquire an infection of some form; a figure that rises for those with a low immune system or who are in intensive care units. Hospital infection advice is therefore vital if you are to claim compensation for acquiring an ailment you did not have prior to being admitted. Call us at Accident Advice Helpline and we will be happy to guide you through the claims process as expertly and efficiently as possible.
Types of infection
We are susceptible to many types of infection, ranging from the less serious, like colds and coughs, to more acute ones, such as septicaemia (blood poisoning) and MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). These infections are usually acquired by patients in hospital due to them being in close proximity with other patients and staff who may possibly be colonised with an infection or suffering from one. Unless routine hygiene precautions are taken, infections can quickly spread. Patients who undergo operations or other procedures where the skin is damaged, such as via intravenous infusions and catheters, are at some risk, while individuals with certain specific conditions are even more likely to catch an infection; for example, those with heart, kidney or skin diseases or who have a low immune system. Young children and the elderly are also at increased risk.
How germs spread
Germs that trigger infections can be spread in many different ways, the main ones being:
- Indirect contact – this is via contact with unsanitary equipment, dressings or other materials
- Airborne – germs such as the chicken pox virus, which are transported by the air
- Direct contact – this is via contact with someone who has an infection, such as scabies
- Droplet spread – infectious droplets of moisture that are breathed out or coughed whilst a patient is still infected. They can colonise on surfaces and transfer to another person.
There are various ways of preventing infections from spreading and they are all easy to follow. It is simply a matter of a little common sense and a mind for cleanliness:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and just before you eat
- Keep your room or ward area as tidy as possible so that cleaning staff can reach all the surfaces and floor areas and clean thoroughly
- If you have any wounds, don’t touch them or remove the dressings
- If a staff member needs to help you with your personal care or carry out a procedure such as dressing a wound, do not be afraid to ask if they have washed their hands
- Do not share personal items, particularly towels or toiletries, with other patients
- Remind your visitors to clean their hands with the solutions available when they enter and leave the ward
- If you feel unwell, tell a member of the medical staff immediately, especially if you have diarrhoea or are vomiting
Remember, we are here to help you if you believe you require hospital infection advice having caught a bug and believe it to be the hospital’s fault. Simply call Accident Advice Helpline for free on 0800 180 4123 and we will be happy to talk you through the process and offer our expert legal advice.
Date Published: February 15, 2014
Author: David Brown