Individual hospitals or hospital systems may not consider the role of patients who transfer in and out of the hospital from nursing homes when planning their infection control strategies.
That may be a mistake, suggests a new study. It found the presence of nursing homes substantially increased the effects of a hospital outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This led to a relative average increase of 46.2% above and beyond the impact of infection when only hospitals were considered in outbreak estimates in Orange County, CA.
A MRSA outbreak in the largest nursing home had effects on many Orange County hospitals. It boosted MRSA prevalence in directly connected hospitals by an average of 0.3% and in hospitals not directly connected through patient transfers by an average of 0.1% after 6 months.
The researchers used a model to simulate MRSA outbreaks among all hospitals and nursing homes in Orange County.
For more info, see Lee et al. (2013). The importance of nursing homes in the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among hospitals. Medical Care, 51(3), 205-215. doi:10.1097/MLR.0b013e3182836dc2