Health care acquired infections (HAIs) are infections that patients get while receiving treatment for surgical conditions in a health care setting. HAIs are among the leading causes of preventable deaths in health care environments and are associated with a substantial increase in health care costs each year. They occur in all types of care settings, including acute care within hospitals, ambulatory outpatient care in health care clinics, same-day surgical centers, and residence in long-term care facilities like nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities.
Some causes of HAIs are directly related to professional practice and protocols: the use and maintenance of medical devices, such as catheters and ventilators; complications following surgical procedures; transmission of infectious disease between patients and health care workers; and disproportionate nurse-to-patient ratios. Some causes are related to building design topics, such as the physical layout of the health care facility (e.g., open beds close together) or a contaminated air conditioning system.