Single-patient ICU rooms lower infection transmission rates

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Private rooms in intensive care units help to reduce hospital infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and C. difficile, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Acquisition rates for MRSA, C. diff and Enterococcus (VRE) fell 50% at one university hospital when patients went from multibed ICU rooms to single-patient ICU rooms, the study found. Patients in single-patient rooms also had shorter ICU stays, according to the study, which is published in the January issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Healthcare-related infections can be costly in nursing homes and hospitals. One episode of C. diff can cost providers $7,000, according to researchers at Canada's McGill University Health Centre.

Dr. Vivian Loo, co-author of the study, says this is one of the first studies to examine the role that physical infrastructure plays in the prevention of healthcare-associated pathogens.

“Of course, other factors are also important in preventing transmission, like hand hygiene, isolation precautions, antibiotic stewardship and housekeeping practices, but this study clearly demonstrates the crucial need for private rooms, particularly for this patient population,” Loo wrote.
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