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MRSA rates drop by 1/3 at Veterans Affairs LTC sites

January 13, 2014
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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A four-year initiative has made a significant impact on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates within Veterans Affairs (VA) long-term care settings, the first nationwide implementation of such a program outside of acute care.

The MRSA Prevention Initiative, implemented at all 133 VA long-term care facilities across the country in 2009, showed a 36-percent overall drop in MRSA rates within VA sites, according to the study, published in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC).

“To our knowledge, declines in MRSA [healthcare-acquired infections] such as this have not been reported in other large long-term care settings,” the authors wrote. “Our experience suggests that adherence to a simple bundle of infection prevention and control strategies may be of value in controlling MRSA HAIs in CLCs, especially if the program is implemented widely throughout the network of healthcare venues in which an individual may seek care.”

The campaign created set processes for caring for infected residents, including hand hygiene, glove and gown protocols, and the fostering of an “institutional culture change focusing on individual responsibility for infection control,” notes a press release from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, which publishes the AJIC journal.

MRSA bacteria are relatively common outside of healthcare facilities, but they can create deadly infections when they colonize within healthare facilities.

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