Two types of serious infections that are often contracted in hospitals or long-term care facilities are Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile, also known as C.diff.
You would hope that your hospital is doing everything possible to help prevent infections caused by these serious, sometimes deadly forms of bacteria, but that may not be the case. In a recent article, Consumer Reports helps consumers find out which hospitals do a good job of preventing infection and which ones don't do so well. As the article points out, this is extremely important information to have because each year 8,000 patients die from MRSA and 27,000 die from C. diff infections.
You can go to Consumer Reports online and read hospital ratings here. I've provided a brief summary of the hospital results in Macon at the end of this article.
Common characteristics shared by the hospitals that do well
- They are careful about prescribing antibiotics, and often have “antibiotic stewardship” programs headed by pharmacists trained in infectious disease;
- They are really clean – for example, they are fastidious about hand washing. That simple step alone slashes the rate of these infections;
Things you can do to help protect yourself
- Insist on cleanliness – that means a clean room and hand washing by all staff, especially before they examine you;
- Question the administration of antibiotics – make sure you aren't just given a broad spectrum antibiotic instead of one that may be more targeted for your particular infection;
- Heartburn drugs may make you more susceptible to infections, so use them wisely;
- Ask if “tubes” can be removed so that they don't stay in place longer than necessary – they are frequent sources of infection;
- Be careful about shaving – electric hair removers are safer because they cause fewer nicks that may cause infections
Summary of results for hospitals in Macon, Georgia
The Consumer Reports ratings show how MRSA or C.diff infections that patients contracted during their stay in a particular hospital compared to the national averages published by the CDC.
When it came to ratings for avoiding MRSA infections and C.diff infections in Bibb County, the two major hospitals rated as follows
Colliseum Medical Centers –
MRSA: It rated below average, at 288% worse than the national average
C.diff: It rated above average, at 65% better than the national average.
Medical Center of Central Georgia Navicent Health –
MRSA: It rated below average, at 71% worse than the national average.
C.diff: It rated average, at 17% better than the national average.
Please take a look at the article and links to check on your hospital. Hopefully you can avoid an infection the next time you have a hospital stay.