More than one-fourth of SNF residents colonized with drug-resistant bacteria, analysis shows

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More than 25% of skilled nursing facility residents have multidrug-resistant bacteria lurking within them, including E. coli, a new research review has found.

Researchers with the Columbia University School of Nursing analyzed 12 studies and found the 2,720 nursing home residents whose data was included in the review had drug-resistant bacteria prevalence rates ranging from 11.2% to 59.1%. The study found a 27% average colonization rate, with E. coli accounting for the largest proportion of colonizations.

The review's results, published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, also identified factors such as advanced age, gender, comorbidities, increased interaction with healthcare workers and delayed initiation of antibiotics to raise residents' colonization risk.

“This study underscores the importance of having strong infection prevention programs in all nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” said Linda Greene, RN, MPS, CIC, FAPIC, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. “Understanding the dynamics and cause of MDR-GNB transmission is crucial to identifying effective infection control strategies specific to these settings.”

The research teams encouraged providers to identify which residents are most at risk for multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria, and allow infection preventionists to tailor efforts specifically for those residents.

“The results of our study suggest that there is much more to be done with regard to infection prevention within nursing homes, and that increased measures must be taken with elderly patients in regard to MDR-GNB colonization,” the researchers wrote.