Why superbug transmission occurs in 11 percent of nursing home interactions

A study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology examined the risk of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria transmission via healthcare workers' gowns and gloves while providing care at community-based nursing facilities.

Researchers conducted a prospective, observational study that included 403 residents and healthcare personnel from 13 community-based nursing facilities in Maryland and Michigan. They collected perianal swabs from residents and cultured them to detect resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Healthcare personnel wore gowns and gloves during usual care activities. At the end of each interaction, the gowns and gloves were swabbed.

Here are five study findings:

• Nineteen percent of the 399 residents with a perianal swab were colonized with at least one resistant Gram-negative bacterium.
• Resistant Gram-negative bacteria transmission to either gloves or gowns occurred during 11 percent of the 584 interactions.
• Showering the resident, hygiene or toilet assistance as well as wound dressing changes were associated with a high risk of bacteria transmission.
• Glucose monitoring and assistance with feeding or medication were associated with a low risk of transmission.
• Residents with a pressure ulcer were three times more likely to transmit resistant Gram-negative bacteria than residents without one.

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