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How to prevent MRSA transmission between nursing home residents, workers

May 28, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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New research reveals the most important times that nursing home workers should wear gloves and gowns to prevent the transmission of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from one resident to another.

More than one-fourth of residents harbor MRSA in some settings, according to Mary-Claire Roghmann, MD, lead author of the study, which was published online in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

She and colleagues evaluated 403 residents at 13 community-based nursing homes in Maryland and Michigan. They found that glove contamination was more prevalent than gown contamination (24 percent versus 14 percent), reinforcing the importance of hand hygiene after caring for one resident and before caring for another.

High-risk activities that were linked to glove or gown contamination:

  • Dressing residents,
  • Transferring residents,
  • Providing hygiene, such as brushing teeth or combing hair, and
  • Changing linens and diapers.

Healthcare workers may not wear gowns when providing some types of care because they don’t anticipate that their clothing will come into contact with body secretions, the researchers noted.

“This research is particularly important since residents in these communities require a lot of assistance from their healthcare workers,” Roghmann said. “New MRSA acquisition in nursing homes is substantial. 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.”

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