Study: Healthcare Professionals' Definitions of 'Multidrug-Resistant' Vary

When it comes to describing multidrug-resistant organisms, healthcare workers can't seem to agree on a definition, according to research published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology

Researchers surveyed members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America from 26 states and 15 countries on their experiences with and definitions of MDR Enterobacteriaceae, Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas species of bacteria in acute-care settings.

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Researchers found the reported definitions of an MDR organism were highly variable, with 14 unique definitions for Acinetobacter, 18 unique definitions for Pseudomonas and 22 unique definitions for Enterobacteriaceae isolates.

In addition, the procedures for dealing with patients infected with MDR organisms varied greatly. While patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus were usually placed in isolation, 20 percent of facilities did not place patients with MDR Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas species in isolation. Criteria for isolating patients with any MDR organism were highly variable, according to the article.

Researchers suggested that while acute-care settings have fairly standardized procedures for dealing with cases of MRSA and VRE, the general confusion over the definition of an MDR organism and how and when to quarantine infected patients could be taking a toll on the effectiveness of infection control efforts.

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