Hospital acquired complications are one of the main issues that hospital administrators have to deal with each day. As a matter of fact, it is one of the main reasons cited for litigation of patients against hospital facilities alongside professional negligence. Hospital acquired complications result when the patient develops symptoms other than those associated with their presented diagnosis. In essence, these complications are developed during the period of their stay in the hospital wards. Sufficing to note, these complications are not entirely the fault of the hospital and its staff; rather the interaction of the patient with hospital facilities and sometimes with other patients plays a major role. Some of the most common complications acquired during hospital stays include pressure ulcers, patient falls, and urinary tract infections, to name but a few.
Pressure ulcers are wounds that are developed by patients who lie on one side of the body for a long period of time. This complication especially results among patients who are weak or unconscious, such as comatose patients. Bed sores, as they are sometimes referred to, have been attributed to the loss of patient mobility. However, there is evidence to prove that in addition to immobility, friction, shear, and change in the microclimate also contribute towards the pathogenesis of pressure ulcers (Orsted, Ohura, & Harding, 2010). Friction and shear contribute to each other while the microclimate causes the skin to be more susceptible to their effects. In a nutshell, shear, friction, and change in the microclimate work in synergy to cause pressure ulcers. The skin undergoes some changes upon the effect of these factors. Firstly, pressure results in a significant reduction of the amount of blood flowing to the skin. Consequently, there is a resulting ischemia, which, when prolonged, causes necrosis of the skin tissue associated with pressure ulcers. There is a direct relationship between the duration of the pressure and the stage of the ulcers with long durations associated with damage of muscle and bone tissues.
Hospital falls are significantly a dilemma for hospital administrators, especially considering the aspect of financial responsibility. Falls are associated with limitations of activities, anxiety, and even accelerated admission to nursing homes (Tzeng, Hu, & Yin, 2011). The patient as well as hospital factors are contributory causes of hospital falls. Sometimes, the patient can fall down as a result of his or her carelessness or ignorance of warnings about the effect of a possible fall upon execution or lack of instructions. Additionally, it is not impossible to come across some malicious patients feigning a fall in order to exploit the hospital coffers. Slippery floors, especially when a patient is taking a walk during hospital cleaning, also contribute to hospital falls. Whether to lay the blame squarely on the patient of the hospital is a discussion that would often attract an equal number of supporters and opponents. However, it is the responsibility of the patient to ensure their personal safety while the hospital must provide the best environment and mitigation strategies to ensure the patient is never exposed to such risks. The nurses also must play their role of taking care of admitted patients with more diligence.
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Catheterization is one of the most common procedures performed at the bedside. It is almost a necessity for all immobile patients to be catheterized to facilitate their comfort. In addition, all pre-operation, operation, and post-operation patients must be catheterized to measure their input and output to maintain the kidneys in check. While this procedure is performed under aseptic conditions, a significant number of patients acquire urinary tract infections in the process (Wenzel & Edmond, 2001). These iatrogenic infections are associated with Escherichia coli among other gram-negative bacteria. While most of the cases affect the lower tract, some cases progress to affect even the upper tract, which could potentially lead to renal diseases if not adequately managed. It, therefore, goes without saying that nurses must do everything possible to alleviate such an eventuality through thorough observation of asepsis when putting and removing the catheters.
Summing up, hospital acquired complications cannot be absolutely eliminated. This is because it would be impossible to have an absolute efficiency in the health facilities. However, most of the causes are preventable through the collective efforts of the hospital administration, staff, and the patients. In case of applying the collective efforts, a significant number of mortalities as well as litigations will be prevented.
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