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Hospitals may implement admission screening cultures and may review transfer documentation to identify patients colonized with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) to implement isolation precautions; however, outcomes and logistical considerations have not been well described.
At an academic hospital in Chicago, we retrospectively studied the implementation and outcomes of CRE admission screening from 2013 to 2016 during 2 periods. During period 1, we implemented active CRE rectal culture screening for all adults patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) and for those transferred from outside facilities to general wards. During period 2, screening was restricted only to adults transferred from outside facilities. For a subset of transferred patients who were previously reported to the health department as CRE positive, we reviewed transfer paperwork for appropriate documentation of CRE.
Overall, 11,757 patients qualified for screening; rectal cultures were performed for 8,569 patients (73%). Rates of CRE screen positivity differed by period, previous facility type (if transferred), and current inpatient location. A higher combined CRE positivity rate was detected in the medical and surgical ICUs among period 2 patients (3.3%) versus all other ward-period comparisons (P<.001). Among 13 transferred patients previously known to be CRE colonized, appropriate CRE transfer documentation was available for only 4 patients (31%).
Active screening for CRE is feasible, and screening patients transferred from outside facilities to the medical or surgical ICU resulted in the highest screen positivity rate. Furthermore, CRE carriage was inconsistently documented in transfer paperwork, suggesting that admission screening or enhanced inter-facility communication are needed to improve the identification of CRE-colonized patients.
In August 2007, Illinois passed legislation mandating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) admission screening for intensive care unit patients. We assessed hospital staff perceptions of the implementation of this law.
Mixed-methods evaluation using structured focus groups and questionnaires.
Eight Chicago-area hospitals.
Three strata of staff (leadership, midlevel, and frontline) at each hospital.
All participants completed a questionnaire and participated in a focus group. Focus group transcripts were thematically coded and analyzed. The proportion of staff agreeing with statements about MRSA and the legislation was compared across staff types.
Overall, 126 hospital staff participated in 23 focus groups. Fifty-six percent of participants agreed that the legislation had a positive effect at their facility; frontline staff were more likely to agree than midlevel and leadership staff (P < .01). Perceived benefits of the legislation included increased awareness of MRSA among staff and better knowledge of the epidemiology of MRSA colonization. Perceived negative consequences included the psychosocial effect of screening and contact precautions on patients and increased use of resources. Most participants (59%) would choose to continue the activities associated with the legislation but advised facilities in states considering similar legislation to educate staff and patients about MRSA screening and to draft clear implementation plans.
Staff from Chicago-area hospitals perceived that mandatory MRSA screening legislation resulted in some benefits but highlighted implementation challenges. States considering similar initiatives might minimize these challenges by optimizing messaging to patients and healthcare staff, drafting implementation plans, and developing program evaluation strategies.