Surveillance of nosocomial infection in private psychiatric hospitals: An exploratory study

Paula Loving, Sharon Porter, Alexa Stuifbergen, Julia Houfek, Phillip Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The vast majority of work published about infection control programs, procedures, and practices addresses general acute care facilities. Consequently, infection-control coordinators at psychiatric hospitals have few established norms or models to use in adapting available standards to the unique needs of psychiatric hospitals and their patients. This descriptive study explored practices for the surveillance of nosocomial infections in private psychiatric hospitals. Methods: A survey was mailed to the infection control coordinator of the 284 hospitals belonging to the National Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals. Questionnaire data were collected anonymously. Surveys were returned by 103 (36%) of the hospitals. Results: The most frequent criteria used to define the presence of nosocomial infections were the Center for Disease Control guidelines and clinical judgment, used by 38% and 39% of the respondents, respectively. Most (64%) of the respondents indicated that they did calculate a nosocomial infection rate. The most frequent method used to calculate infection rates was based on patient discharges. Sixty-five hospitals (63%) reported their most recent yearly infection rate, which ranged from 0.00 to 0.35, with a median rate of 0.05 (mean, 0.06; SD, 0.07). Conclusions: Overall, the findings reflected much variability in respondents' practices in defining nosocomial infections and calculating infection rates. We therefore suggest that both the method used to calculate the rate and facilities' definitions of nosocomial infection be considered when comparing infection rates across facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalAJIC: American Journal of Infection Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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