Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another downside to the economic slump ...

... hospitals cutting back on nosocomial (hospital acquired) infection control.
But infection-control professionals say their ranks are being thinned and they are losing the resources they need to fight infections as part of cutbacks linked to the economic downturn.

In a survey released today, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control says that 41% of nearly 2,000 respondents reported cuts in their budgets, including money for technology, staff, education, products and equipment. Of those, nearly 40% had layoffs or reduced hours, and a third experienced hiring freezes. Nurses who staff many of the departments say they are being asked to take on extra duties that distract them from infection control.
I've always maintained that if you MUST stay in a hospital, stay for as short a period of time as you can. I think nowadays this is even more prudent advice to follow. Because honestly? The hospitals don't seem to care.
Another concern that surfaced in the survey: only one in five respondents said their hospitals are using data-mining programs –- electronic surveillance systems that identify clusters of infections in real time so hospital staffers can intervene quickly.
Hospitals are not about making sick people well, it's about making money. Of course they do that by making most sick people well, but don't think for a minute that you're more than just a number ... with a dollar sign appended to the front of that number ... to them. If you die, the insurance still pays out. Sure killing people isn't good for business, but a measure of people are expected to die in hospitals, so unless something really egregious* happens, your death via nosocomial infection won't matter much.

*I'd be willing to bet that it'd take dozens or more people dying from the same nosocomial outbreak to garner significant attention to cause the hospital to worry about its reputation, and subsequently it's ability to turn a hefty profit.

1 comment:

microbiologist xx said...

I'm getting to the point where i can barely go into a hospital. Just walking through the halls gives me the creeps. I know WAY too much.
When my Mom had a procedure last year, I was less worried about the surgery than what kind of multi-drug resistant bullshit she might pick up during her stay.