Infection prevention

HAI, SSI or HCAI – this is how they differ

By : Mölnlycke Health Care, December 16 2011Posted in: Infection prevention

Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) and healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) are terms that are used alternatively and the definitions overlap. 
Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) refer to infections that develop in patients 48 hours or more after admission to a hospital1.

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are infections that develop within 30 days after an operation or within one year if an implant was placed, and the infection appears to be related to the surgery. Post-operative SSIs are the most common healthcare associated infection in surgical patients.

Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) refer to infections acquired as a result of the delivery of healthcare either in an acute (hospital) or (HCAI) non-acute setting1. HCAIs thus refer to infections acquired both in hospitals and open care such as nursing homes.


  1. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Annual epidemiological report on the communicable diseases in Europe. 2008: Ch 2: Healthcare-associated infection
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