Nosocomial Infection

What is a nosocomial infection?

A nosocomial infection, also known as a healthcare-associated infection (HAI), is an infection acquired while receiving healthcare. The infection cannot be present at admission to be considered a nosocomial infection.

Some locations where a nosocomial infection may occur include:

  • Hospitals
  • Ambulatory settings
  • Long-term care facilities

In some cases, the nosocomial infection may not appear until after discharge.      

Some common nosocomial infections include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Surgical site wound infections
  • Respiratory pneumonia
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Bacteremia
  • Skin infections

Some of the risk factors for nosocomial infections include:

  • Increasing age
  • Longer hospital length of stay
  • A greater number of invasive devices and procedures
  • Excessive or improper use of broad-spectrum antibiotics

How do nosocomial infections impact healthcare?

As the most common adverse event to occur in healthcare, nosocomial infections can take a significant toll on a patient’s health. Most notably, nosocomial infections can lead to increased mortality and greater healthcare costs due to increased resource use and longer lengths of stay.

In many cases, nosocomial infections can be prevented by healthcare staff following infection control and prevention procedures. Some of these actions include proper PPE use, frequent hand hygiene, quick removal of indwelling devices, routine disinfection, and appropriate antibiotic use.