The prevalence of MRSA among Veteran’s Affairs long term care facilities has significantly declined in the past four years, according to a new study.

Infection Rates Droplong term care facilities

MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacterial infection that can cause infection in various parts of the body and can be especially resistant to antibiotics. For those with already weakened immune systems, like the elderly, MRSA can pose an especially high threat and can even be life-threatening.

A study published in the January edition of the American Journal of Infection Control found that the MRSA rates in Veteran’s Affairs long term care facilities has dropped 36% since 2009, the year a prevention initiative began.

The MRSA Prevention Initiative was put into place in 133 VA long term care facilities across the country in an attempt to control and reduce the number of infections taking place. MRSA is especially common in hospitals and long term care facilities, where infectious organisms can be hard to control.

Initiative Standards

The initiative included screening every patient for MRSA, the utilization of gowns and gloves when caring for an elderly patient already infected with MRSA, strict hygiene procedures, and a new focus on individual responsibility. A MRSA Prevention Coordinator position was also created to help control the infection rates at each facility.

“We previously reported that a MRSA Prevention Initiative was associated with significant decreases in MRSA HAIs in acute care facilities over a 33-month period in a large healthcare system. Here we show that the initiative was also associated with decreased rates of MRSA HAIs in VA community living centers (CLCs) without a corresponding decrease in MRSA admission prevalence,” state the authors.

“To our knowledge, declines in MRSA HAIs such as this have not been reported in other large long-term care settings. Our experience suggests that adherence to a simple bundle of infection prevention and control strategies may be of value in controlling MRSA HAIs in CLCs, especially if the program is implemented widely throughout the network of healthcare venues in which an individual may seek care.”

Antibiotic Usage

Due to the high number of antibiotic resistant superbugs emerging throughout the country, this MRSA prevention initiative could be extremely helpful to health settings everywhere. High antibiotic usage coupled with consumption of high antibiotics in animal products has led to an increased concern about the spread of these superbugs like MRSA.

Taking precautionary steps and spreading awareness about the infection can help other long term care facilities achieve the same reduction in rates that the VA facilities have witnessed. Read more about the high antibiotic usage or find out more about planning for long term care.