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Assessing the indirect costs of HAIs

November 08, 2017
Infection Control
From the November 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

What normally goes unrecorded when studying HAIs are the indirect costs to individuals and loved ones. In my father’s case, during the extended home stay, he had to have family members attend to his business needs, which took time from their businesses. Since his revenue was derived from continued sales, the complete stoppage of his business activity along with the additional nursing costs impacted our family greatly. Family members all experienced a psychological impact since they now had to drive him to additional doctor’s appointments, as well as assist with meals and medications. Having lost a dear father of four children and husband so quickly from complications due to a health care associated infection took its toll on everyone. Besides the pain of losing a loved one, the inconvenience cost, the loss of revenue from business, nursing care expense and other associated expenditures became significant for this middle class family. All caused by a preventable issue experienced in the hospital.

Even late night television commercials
As seen with late night television commercials regarding exposure to asbestos by attorneys asking if someone is experiencing mesothelioma or asbestosis, commercials are now beginning to appear asking if you have a family member or friend who experienced a hospital-related infection.
Thom Wellington
Attorneys are finding ways to show the appearance of negligence with hospital staff actions and lack of training. For instance, an HAI occurring to a patient in Room 402 prompts a subpoena of all maintenance and construction work records regarding what took place on the same floor, or the floor above, during the patient’s stay. Not only are the work-related task records important, attorneys also want the training records for each of the persons performing the work. This kind of action will bog down facility managers with even more work when they are already overburdened and understaffed.

Health care associated infections (HAIs) may be impacting the finances of the hospitals, but they are also impacting the physicians and the families. Since HAIs are mostly preventable, everyone needs to understand the full picture of impact, work hard to educate staff and have empathy for patients. Improvement can only be gained when everyone works toward healthy outcomes.

About the author: Thom Wellington is the CEO and a stockholder in Infection Control University.

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