The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported continued increases in certain healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in 2021 and improvements in others, based on the summary measure used by the National Healthcare Safety Network to track infections. The annual report provides a summary of select HAIs across four healthcare settings: acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term acute care hospitals.
Changes among acute care hospitals include:
- a 14 percent increase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia
- a 12 percent increase in ventilator-associated events
- an 11 percent increase in surgical-site infections following abdominal hysterectomy
- a 7 percent increase in central line-associated bloodstream infections
- a 5 percent increase in in catheter-associated urinary tract infections
- a 3 percent decrease in hospital onset Clostridioides difficile infections.
“In 2021, many hospitals continued to face extraordinary circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic that may have reduced the implementation of standard infection prevention and control practices,” according to the CDC. “In acute care hospitals, the increases seen in some HAIs in 2021 contrast with the success in reducing these infections prior to the pandemic. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, acute care hospitals performed significantly better than the 2015 national baseline in preventing CLABSI, CAUTI, SSIs following colon surgeries, and C. difficile infections.”
The report recommends that facilities continue to reinforce prevention practices and review HAI surveillance data to identify areas for improvement.