A tailored infection prevention intervention in six nursing homes was successful in cutting the number of multidrug-resistant organisms in residents’ rooms and the related risk of transmission.

Investigators conducted a clinical trial including 245 residents, 94% of whom were admitted for an anticipated short stay, and nearly all of whom were receiving post-acute care. Specimens were collected from residents’ rooms.

The multicomponent intervention included enhanced barrier precautions, chlorhexidine bathing, microbial surveillance, and staff engagement.

The intervention significantly reduced the prevalence of multidrug-resistant organisms in the residents’ environments when compared with control nursing homes, which continued with standard care, reported Lona Mody, M.D., of University of Michigan Medical School and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI.

The trial highlighted a number of factors that nursing home operators can use in designing their own infection prevention interventions, Mody and colleagues wrote. Chlorhexidine bathing stands out in particular, given its low toxic effects, prolonged effect and proven efficacy against healthcare-associated pathogens (although there are emerging reports of chlorhexidine resistance), they said.

More detail on the factors that may have contributed to the intervention’s success are provided in the study, published in JAMA Network Open.

The study is one of the first to show that multicomponent interventions can reduce environmental contamination in nursing homes, the authors reported.