The results of a study published online on May 26, 2015 in the medical journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology entitled, Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to Healthcare Workers Gowns and Gloves During Care of Nursing Home Residents, concluded: “MRSA transmission from MRSA-positive residents to HCW gown and gloves is substantial; high-contact activities of daily living confer the highest risk. These activities do not involve overt contact with body fluids, skin breakdown, or mucous membranes, which suggests the need to modify current standards of care involving the use of gowns and gloves in the nursing home setting.”
The observational study was intended to estimate the frequency of MRSA transmission to gowns and gloves worn by healthcare workers (“HCWs”) interacting with nursing home residents to improve infection prevention policies in nursing homes. The study participants were from 13 community-based nursing homes in Maryland and Michigan. Of the 403 participants in the study, 103 had MRSA.
The study found that glove contamination was higher than gown contamination (24% versus 14%), that transmission greatly varied by the type of care (from 0% to 24% for gowns, and from 8% to 37% for gloves), that residents with chronic skin breakdown had significantly higher rates of gown and glove contamination, that 5% of glove and gown interactions were MRSA positive during HCW interactions with residents not colonized with MRSA, that high-risk activities included dressing, transferring, providing hygiene, changing linens, and toileting the resident, and that low-risk activities included giving medications and performing glucose monitoring.
The study’s authors noted that the high-risk activities were all high-contact activities of daily living and often did not involve overt contact with body fluids, skin breakdown, or mucous membranes, suggesting the need to modify current CDC standards of care involving the use of gowns and gloves because under standard precautions, gowns and gloves are not recommended to be worn for these high-risk activities.
What Is MRSA?
According to the CDC, MRSA (Staphylococcus aureus), often referred to simply as “Staph,” is a very common bacterium on the skin or in the nose of 1 out of every 3 people that usually does not cause harm. However, Staph sometimes can cause serious skin or wound infections, pneumonia, or blood infections that can be fatal without prompt and appropriate antibiotic treatment.
MSRA is a type of Staph that is resistant to many antibiotics that are used to treat Staph infections. There are antibiotics that kill MRSA bacterium but some patients with MRSA will require surgery to drain the infection if they have MRSA abscesses.
MRSA can be spread by infected bed linens, bed rails, bathroom fixtures, and medical equipment, as well as by the hands of doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers, and by visitors. Contact precautions are critical to preventing the spread of MRSA to non-infected individuals when caring for people with MRSA.
When people are admitted to hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and short-term and long-term care facilities, they are often swabbed at the time of admission to determine if they presently have MRSA. All physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers must clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for patients and nursing home residents in order to prevent the transmission of MRSA and other germs among patients and nursing home residents.
If you or a loved one suffered injury (or worse) due to nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, or nursing home infection in the United States, you should promptly find a nursing home claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a nursing home claim, if appropriate.
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