Study: 1 in 4 residents bring drug-resistant bacteria with them to post-acute facilities

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Nearly a quarter of seniors who are admitted to post-acute care facilities from hospitals carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria with them, according to a study published Monday.

Researchers from the University of Michigan took samples from the hands of 350 residents at six post acute care facilities upon admission and continued taking samples monthly for up to 180 days or until the residents were discharged.

Close to 25% of the residents sampled had at least one strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands upon admission, and 10% went on to acquire at least one more type of germ on their hands during their post acute stay, researchers found. Of the residents sampled, two-thirds still had the bacteria on their hands upon discharge.

Those findings may not paint the full picture of antibiotic resistance in post-acute care facilities, researchers cautioned.

“Our estimates do not reflect the patients who were already residing in the facility, some of them long term, and may underestimate the magnitude of hand colonization and its impact on transmission,” wrote lead researcher Lona Mody, MBBS, MSc.

The study's results should push acute-care providers to implement “greatly underappreciated” patient handwashing routines in order to protect other post-acute residents upon admission, researchers said.

The study's full results were published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.