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Healthcare Associated Infections

Infection is a leading cause of morbidity and is second only to cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in the chronic uremic patient on hemodialysis.  Infections are a major reason for hospitalizations in this population, estimated to be responsible for as many as 20% of all inpatient admissions.  During dialysis, infections like Hepatitis B and C and bloodstream infections are spread from patient to patient most commonly by the hands of healthcare workers. To prevent the spread of infections, clinicians who work in dialysis should understand and follow the basics of infection control as a routine part of their practice.  Basic steps clinicians can take to prevent infections in hemodialysis patients include:

  • Promote fistula use
  • Get catheters out
  • Improve catheter care
  • Clean hands before and after every patient contact
  • Talk to patients about good vascular access care