MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lona Mody, MBBS, MSc
Associate Division Chief, Clinical and Translational Research
Associate Director, Clinical Programs, VA GRECC
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
Research Associate Professor, Institute of Gerontology
University of Michigan Geriatrics Ann Arbor, MI
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Over 1.5 million residents live in 15,600 Nursing Homes in the US. The acuity of illness in this population has increased substantially in the last decade, as has the risk of acquiring new infections. Multi-drug resistant organisms, also known as MDROs, are endemic in this setting with prevalence estimates upwards of 35% and surpassing those in the hospitals. Nursing homes historically have had few infection prevention resources, which contributes to these high rates. Patients with indwelling devices such as urinary catheters and feeding tubes present an attractive habitat for these ‘superbugs’ and thus carry the added burden of device-related infections.
The authors examined the effect of a targeted infection program, or TIP, to reduce the prevalence of Multi-drug resistant organisms and new catheter or feeding tube infections among patients with indwelling devices. The TIP intervention was three-fold:
- Surveillance for infections and Multi-drug resistant organism colonization with regular feedback to facilities;
- Extensive and interactive staff education using adult learning theory about key infection prevention practices and hand hygiene; and
- Use of gowns and gown when providing assistance to patients for high-risk activities such as bathing and grooming.
Staff education emphasized precautionary measures against the spread of infection and included mock game shows, songs and dances. Hands were cultured for bacteria before and after hand washing. Outcomes were measured by results of the cultures taken for each patient and monitoring infection rates.
A team of researchers from the University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Health System has demonstrated that simple measures might be all it takes to push back at the spread of Multi-drug resistant organisms or ‘superbugs’ in nursing homes as well as reduce infections. In their study of patients with indwelling devices, MDROs were reduced by 23 percent among 418 residents in six southeast Michigan nursing homes who participated over the course of the three-year study. The numbers of catheter-associated urinary tract infections and MRSA acquisitions also decreased, 46 percent and 22 percent respectively.
The trial examined the relationship between acquisition of antimicrobial resistance among nursing home residents with the use of devices by adapting new methodological approaches and study designs to study infection prevention interventions including the use of cluster-randomized study design for infection prevention interventions, adopting adult learning practices to engage frontline healthcare personnel and using multi-anatomic site sampling to demonstrate effectiveness of the program.