Determining the effect of social deprivation on the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections in acute hospitals: a multivariate analysis of a linked data set

S. J. Packer, S. Cairns, C. Robertson, J. S. Reilly, L. J. Willocks

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BACKGROUND: Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) endanger safety by increasing morbidity, mortality, and hospital stay. Studies identifying risk factors for HCAI rarely address the wider determinants of health. However, a well-characterized association exists between increasing social deprivation and poor health outcomes. Therefore it is important to determine whether HCAIs are associated with social deprivation.

AIM: To determine the association between social deprivation and the prevalence of HCAI, in all inpatients in an acute hospital in Scotland on a single day across September and October 2011.

METHODS: This study linked Scottish data from the 2011 European Point Prevalence Survey of HCAI and Antimicrobial Prescribing to the Scottish Morbidity Record 01, a national dataset with Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) included. Multivariate logistic regression was used to model HCAI prevalence against SIMD quintile.

FINDINGS: No overall association was found between SIMD quintile and prevalence of HCAI in all inpatients. A significant difference was found between HCAI prevalence across SIMD quintile in patients undergoing surgical procedures, with higher prevalence observed with increasing deprivation (P = 0.0071). Variables associated with HCAI prevalence were: intensive care specialty, psychiatric and medical specialties, minimum invasive surgery, and all categories of length of stay.

CONCLUSION: This study found a significant difference in HCAI prevalence across SIMD quintile in patients undergoing surgery. To our knowledge this was the first study to examine the overall association between HCAI and SIMD. The findings highlight the broad and comprehensive nature of social deprivation in determining health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-357
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number4
Early online date8 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • epidemiology
  • healthcare-associated infection
  • point-prevalence survey
  • Scottish index of multiple deprivation (SIMD)
  • social deprivation
  • surgical site infections

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