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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Prevention of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in spinal cord injury units


Evans, ME, Kralovic SM, Simbartl LA, Obrosky DS, Hammond MC, Goldstein B, Evansm CT, Roselle, GA, Jain R



Publication Info:

Am J Inf Control, :


BACKGROUND: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) health care-associated infections (HAIs) are a concern in the 22 acute care Veterans Affairs (VA) spinal cord injury units where patients with unique rehabilitation and medical needs and a high risk of infection are treated.
METHODS: A bundle was implemented in VA spinal cord injury units consisting of nasal surveillance for MRSA on admission/in-hospital transfer/discharge, contact precautions for patients colonized or infected with MRSA, an emphasis on hand hygiene, and an institutional culture change where infection control became everyone's responsibility.
RESULTS: From October 2007, through June 2011, there were 51,627 admissions/transfers/discharges and 816,254 patient-days of care in VA spinal cord injury units. The percentage of patients screened increased to >95.0%. The mean admission MRSA prevalence was 38.6% 19.1%. Monthly HAI rates declined 81% from 1.217 per 1,000 patient-days to 0.237 per 1,000 patient-days (P < .001). Bloodstream infections declined by 100% (P = .002), skin and soft-tissue infections by 60% (P = .007), and urinary tract infections by 33% (P = .07).
CONCLUSION: Universal surveillance, contact precautions, hand hygiene, and an institutional culture change was associated with significant declines in MRSA HAIs in a setting with a high prevalence of MRSA colonization and a high risk for infection.

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