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To determine the prevalence of health care-associated infection (HAI) in older people in acute care hospitals, detailing the specific types of HAI and specialties in which these are most prevalent.
Secondary analysis of the Scottish National Healthcare Associated Infection Prevalence Survey data set.
Patients and Setting.
All inpatients in acute care (n = 11,090) in all acute care hospitals in Scotland (n = 45).
The study found a linear relationship between prevalence of HAI and increasing age (P<.0001) in hospital inpatients in Scotland. Urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal infections represented the largest burden of HAI in the 75–84- and over-85-year age groups, and surgical-site infections represented the largest burden in inpatients under 75 years of age. The prevalence of urinary catheterization was higher in each of the over-65 age groups (P<.0001). Importantly, this study reveals that a high prevalence of HAI in inpatients over the age of 65 years is found across a range of specialties within acute hospital care. An increased prevalence of HAI was observed in medical, orthopedic, and surgical specialties.
HAI is an important outcome indicator of acute inpatient hospital care, and our analysis demonstrates that HAI prevalence increases linearly with increasing age (P<.0001). Focusing interventions on preventing urinary tract infection and gastrointestinal infections would have the biggest public health benefit. To ensure patient safety, the importance of age as a risk factor for HAI cannot be overemphasized to those working in all areas of acute care.
This study identifies factors associated with a high prevalence of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) in the Scottish inpatient population, on the basis of the Scotland National HAI Prevalence Survey data set. The multivariate models developed can be used to predict HAI prevalence in specific patient groups to help with planning and policy in infection control.
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