Healthcare associated infections (HCAI)

These are infections that occur in a healthcare setting that were not present before the patient entered the care setting. Patients are more likely to be vulnerable to infection due to their illness, their age, or the treatment for their condition.

Many infections are caused by micro-organisms already present in or on the patient's own body. Such organisms only cause problems when the body's defences are weakened, or breached by surgery or other medical procedures.

Infections may also be caused by micro-organisms originating from another patient either by direct contact or through a contaminated hospital environment. 

You can find out more about HCAI, including how they are caused and the most common types of infection, on the Public Health England website.

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