MRSA incidence reduced among elderly patients by 82 percent over nearly 3-year period

June 5, 2012

The introduction of daily bathing with disposable, germ-killing cloths resulted in a sustained, significant decrease in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) incidence at a Canadian geriatric facility, according to a poster presented at the 39th Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Infection preventionists, working in the Transition (ACT) unit at Baycrest, a geriatric in Ontario, reduced the rate of MRSA transmission by 82 percent over a 33-month period.

Their results were achieved by daily bathing of patients with disposable cloths containing chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), an antimicrobial that reduces organisms on a patient's skin and leaves a residue of the antimicrobial that lasts for up to six hours.

MRSA is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain and is a common cause of healthcare-associated infections.

The use of the wipes began as a in the 27-bed unit, which is dedicated to patients with complex sub-acute and that require urgent medical care. Prior to the study, there was a of 4.99 cases per 1,000 patient days. After this intervention was introduced and became a standard of care, that rate was reduced to 0.88 cases per 1,000 patient days – an 82 percent reduction. It was an isolated intervention, with no other changes in practice on the unit.

The 1,000-bed facility screens every patient on admission to determine whether they are colonized with MRSA – meaning the organism is present in the body but not yet causing an infection. Lead study author, Heather Candon, M.Sc., CIC, infection prevention and control practitioner at Baycrest, said that the impetus for the bathing intervention came about after determining that 21 percent of the facility's MRSA transmission was occurring in the ACT unit.

"Because patients who are colonized with MRSA have a much greater chance of developing a MRSA infection, we knew we needed to intervene to stop transmission and prevent infection," said Candon. "Use of the CHG cloths proved to be a very effective way to achieve and sustain this reduction."

Candon added that previous reports had shown that bathing with CHG cloths reduced the risk of infections in patients undergoing surgery, but, to their knowledge, the technique had not yet been studied for reduction of MRSA transmission in a geriatric setting.

"The research presented by the Baycrest team represents a potentially promising intervention to reduce MRSA transmission and improve patient safety as part of an overall bundle of infection prevention strategies as identified by a facility's infection risk assessment," said Michelle Farber, RN, CIC, APIC 2012 president.

Explore further: Infection control certification associated with lower MRSA infection rates

Related Stories

Infection control certification associated with lower MRSA infection rates

March 9, 2012
Hospitals whose infection prevention and control programs are led by a director who is board certified in infection prevention and control have significantly lower rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ...

Recommended for you

Faulty gene linked to obesity in adults

August 18, 2017
Groundbreaking new research linking obesity and metabolic dysfunction to a problem in the energy generators in cells has been published by researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The University ...

Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015: study

August 17, 2017
The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

New test differentiates between Lyme disease, similar illness

August 16, 2017
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. But it can be confused with similar conditions, including Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. A team of researchers led by Colorado ...

Addressing superbug resistance with phage therapy

August 16, 2017
International research involving a Monash biologist shows that bacteriophage therapy – a process whereby bacterial viruses attack and destroy specific strains of bacteria - can be used successfully to treat systemic, multidrug ...

Can previous exposure to west Nile alter the course of Zika?

August 15, 2017
West Nile virus is no stranger to the U.S.-Mexico border; thousands of people in the region have contracted the mosquito-borne virus in the past. But could this previous exposure affect how intensely Zika sickens someone ...

Compounds in desert creosote bush could treat giardia and 'brain-eating' amoeba infections

August 15, 2017
Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that compounds produced by the creosote bush, a ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.