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To determine the impact of the screening test, nursing workload, handwashing rates, and dependence of handwashing on risk level of patient visit on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission among hospitalized patients.
General medical ward.
Monte Carlo simulation was used to model MRSA transmission (median rate per 1,000 patient-days). Visits by healthcare workers (HCWs) to patients were simulated, and MRSA was assumed to be transmitted among patients via HCWs.
The transmission rate was reduced from 0.89 to 0.56 by the combination of increasing the sensitivity of the screening test from 80% to 99% and being able to report results in 1 day instead of 4 days. Reducing the patient-to-nurse ratio from 4.3 in the day and 6.8 at night to 3.8 and 5.7, respectively, reduced the number of nosocomial infections from 0.89 to 0.85; reducing the ratio to 1 and 1, respectively, further reduced the number of nosocomial infections to 0.32. Increases in handwashing rates by 0%, 10%, and 20% for high-risk visits yielded reductions in nosocomial infections similar to those yielded by increases in handwashing rates for all visits (0.89, 0.36, and 0.24, respectively). Screening all patients for MRSA at admission reduced the transmission rate to 0.81 per 1,000 patient-days from 1.37 if no patients were screened.
Within the ranges of parameters studied, the most effective strategies for reducing the rate of MRSA transmission were increasing the handwashing rates for visits involving contact with skin or bodily fluid and screening patients for MRSA at admission. (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2005;26:607- 615)
To obtain accurate data regarding the handwashing behavior and patterns of visits to patients by healthcare workers (HCWs).
All visits by HCWs to selected patient rooms were recorded for 3 days and 2 nights. Additionally, 5 nurses were observed for 1 day each and 2 nurses were observed for 1 night each. Nurses were observed for their entire shifts and all of their activities were recorded.
A general medical ward in a tertiary-care hospital.
Convenience samples of HCWs and patients.
Patients were visited every 25 minutes on average. Monitoring rooms and observing nurses resulted in similar rates of patient visits. The highest level of risk was contact with body fluids in 11% of visits and skin in 40% of visits. The overall rate of handwashing was 46%; however, the rate was higher for visits involving contact with body fluids (81%) and skin (61%). Nurses returned immediately to the same patient 45% of the time. The rate of handwashing was higher for the last of a series of visits to a patient's room (53% vs 30%, P < .0001).
Nurses adjusted their handwashing rates in accordance with the risk level of each visit. Monitoring patient rooms and observing nurses yielded similar estimates of patient visits and proportions of visits involving contact with skin or body fluids. Education programs about hand hygiene may be more effective if patterns of care and levels of risk are incorporated into recommendations.
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