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serious business and kill 12,000 people a year between 3,500 5,000 people in Ontario alone.

Dr. David Zelt, the Kingston General Hospital Chief of Staff, says hospital acquired infections are a concern for all hospitals.

"When we have a 97 per cent of the beds being used daily it puts a tremendous strain on housekeeping staff who have to get the rooms cleaned for the next patient," she said.

Part of what OCHU hopes to prompt the Minister of Health to do is provide more funding to hire more housekeepers.

This process can take up to three hours, but cleaners are being asked to do it in just 45 minutes.

"Reducing the incidences of hospital acquired infections is a priority for everyone at KGH. We are diligent in our infection control and education practices to help prevent, contain and treat infections."

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) has been touring Ontario with a mobile hospital room to demonstrate the proper way to clean a room to prevent the spread of hospital acquired infections. They stopped at Legion Branch 560, October 24.

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Kim Compton, who works as hospital housekeeping staff in Kingston, did a demonstration of the cleaning process she must undergo each time she cleans a room that housed a patient with an infection. Red White And Blue Nike Uptempo

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"During the first quarter of this fiscal year, many of our infection rates are at, or below, provincial benchmarks. We will continue to improve and expand our efforts to ensure we are creating a safe and healthy environment for our patients and staff."

acquired infections are making a killing

OCHU is pressing the Minister of Health to do something to change the alarming statistics: infections are the fourth leading cause of death. The death of 20 patients in a Niagara area hospital from C. difficile during the summer shone the spotlight on the problem.

It starts with her donning gloves, gown and mask.

"In Britain they operate at 85 per cent, in Scotland at 65 per cent and the rate of hospital acquired infection is much lower than our own. In Scotland they went and banished contract cleaners and hired 1,000 more and their infection rate is lower than Ontario. We need to learn from them and make it work here," she said.

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Hospital acquired infections are Nike Vis Zoom Uptempo

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Sharon Richer, Northern Delegate Nike Uptempo Upcoming Release

"It's not enough time to do things properly, but we are just not given the time we need to do it," she said.

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"We want to stop the contracting out of housekeepers across Ontario, because it means a lower paying job and the rapid turnover means that there is nobody there to say 'you missed something' or to ask 'I'm not sure about this, can you help me'," said Richer.

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KGH is taking several steps to help reduce hospital acquired infections including: following provincial guidelines and best practices in infection prevention and control; ongoing surveillance of and screening for infections; environmental and equipment cleaning; promoting proper hand hygiene practices for patients, families, visitors Nike Uptempo Chi Release Date and staff; and ongoing auditing to ensure proper cleaning and hand hygiene practices are followed.

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus, and influenza all have the potential to kill and are notoriously hard to beat.

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for OCHU, said that the province is currently operating at a 97 per cent bed occupancy rate that meant in February of this year, 770 patients waited in emergency room hallways for an available bed.

All surfaces in the room walls, floors, mattresses, beds, tables, equipment have to be cleaned with a solvent that must be left on for five minutes to kill all germs. The bedding must be rolled in to a ball to contain the infection on the inside and properly disposed of.

They also want to make sure that there is funding to increase the number of beds. From 1998 2003, 5,000 beds were closed across Ontario. Richer cited Britain and Scotland as examples of increased beds leading to reduced occupancy rates.

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Louis Rodriguez, President of KGH Local 1974 and 1st VP of OCHU, said "These hospital beds should be the safest place for our loved ones to go into. It's not about what the costs are going to be. If we have to cut costs to save money, that is an issue."

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A combination of interventions has helped them reduce infection rates, says Dr. Zelt.

"We need to become more proactive instead of reactive. Hospital acquired infections actually cost the Canadian government a billion dollars a year," she added.

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