Most acute-care hospitals follow national guidelines for the prevention and treatment of MRSA infections

Research Activities, January 2011, No. 365

A survey of a national sample of 263 acute-care hospitals finds that most of the hospitals have policies and practices consistent with national guidelines to prevent and treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a serious source of sometimes deadly healthcare-associated infections, accounting for 60 percent of S. aureus strains isolated from patients in intensive care units (ICUs). Of 102 hospitals responding to the survey, 44 percent reported that an active surveillance cultures (ASC) protocol was in place to identify MRSA-colonized patients. Contact precaution protocols (hand washing, use of gowns and gloves) were reported by 92 of 100 hospitals (92 percent), while 85 of 99 hospitals (86 percent) reported having an isolation policy for MRSA-carrying patients. Most of the hospitals had procedures for auditing antibiotic use and restrictions on the use of certain antimicrobial drugs to prevent drug-resistant infections like MRSA.

Yet, only 18 percent reported having formal antimicrobial stewardship teams that give feedback to prescribers, train medical staff, and develop antimicrobial guidelines. Only 25 percent of the hospitals had specific guidelines, protocols, or policies regarding decolonizing patients at risk from MRSA. However, decolonization practices were used by 83 hospitals, primarily for presurgical patients and those known to be infected with, colonized with, or have a prior history of carrying the drug-resistant microbe. The study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16973).

More details are in "Hospital policies and practices on prevention and treatment of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus," by Yoojung Yang, Pharm.D., Martin V. McBride, M.S.Pharm., Keith A. Rodvold, Pharm.D., and others in the June 15, 2010, American Journal of Health-System Pharmacists 67(12), pp. 1017-1024.

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Page last reviewed January 2011
Internet Citation: Most acute-care hospitals follow national guidelines for the prevention and treatment of MRSA infections: Research Activities, January 2011, No. 365. January 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.