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MRSA risk between nursing home residents and staff

  • 4 Comments

Healthcare workers frequently contaminate their gloves and gowns during everyday care of nursing homes residents with drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, according to a US study.

Researchers observed 13 community-based nursing homes, evaluating 403 residents for MRSA colonisation and then assessing whether interactions with healthcare workers lead to contamination of their gowns and gloves by MRSA bacteria.

“We know that healthcare workers serve as a vector for MRSA transmission”

Claire Roghmann

The study found 28% of residents (113 out of 403) harboured MRSA. Glove contamination was higher than gown contamination (24% versus 14%) reinforcing the importance of hand hygiene between residents to prevent transmission of MRSA.

High-risk activities linked to glove or gown contamination included dressing residents, transferring residents, providing hygiene such as brushing teeth or combing hair, and changing linens and diapers, said the study authors in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

They noted that healthcare workers do not wear gowns during much of this care because they do not anticipate that their clothing will come into contact with body secretions during this care.

“One in four nursing home residents harbour MRSA in some settings. We know that healthcare workers serve as a vector for MRSA transmission from one resident to another in settings such as nursing homes,” said Mary-Claire Roghmann, lead author of the study.

“The use of barrier precautions, such as gowns and gloves, limit this transmission. The goal of our research was to determine the most important times to wear gowns and gloves in nursing homes by measuring the risk of MRSA contamination during different types of care,” she said.

“Our study, for the first time, defines the type of care that increases the risk of transmission and suggests modifications to the current indications of gown and glove use,” she added.

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • michael stone

    I must admit to wondering about this one.

    I think the claim about transmission is probably correct, but what does 'in a nursing home' actually imply ? Isn't the idea of 'continuing social interaction' something contemporary end-of-life care encourages, so aren't the residents of nursing homes going to be 'touching each other' to an extent which might spread MRSA anyway ?

    I can see the 'implied point' of this article, and obviously it makes some sense - but surely a nursing home isn't like a ward of bed-bound patients, where prevention of patient-staff-[second] patient transmission would surely be much more effective ?

    Even so, I can't really argue against:

    'The goal of our research was to determine the most important times to wear gowns and gloves in nursing homes by measuring the risk of MRSA contamination during different types of care'.

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  • Quite correct Michael " surely a nursing home isn't like a ward of bed-bound patients, where prevention of patient-staff-[second] patient transmission would surely be much more effective ?"
    Most residents of a Nursing Home are not in wards they are in single rooms where it is easier to isolate infections and I think if a similar study was to happen in the UK it would find that Nursing Homes have a very good record of dealing with this problem

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  • not sure what stone is on about yet again but many MRSA infections have been observed to be introduced to hospital settings by patients transferred from care homes with infected pressure sores.

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  • Anonymous | 31-May-2015 1:49 pm
    Another get at stone, comment, why don't you get your facts right , you obviously haven't worked in a Nursing Home otherwise you would know that patients with MRSA was sent to Nursing Homes from Hospitals and we have it in writing " that they do not require any special treatment" I would also say that the report , although well meaning is rather late in the day , as most Nursing , by now have learnt that the original instructions issued by the NHS was inaccurate to say the least, maybe more attention to this matter in Hospitals might be more productive.

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