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Study shows simple measures reduce infections in nursing homes

Elderly woman
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A University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor hospital study suggests simple measures could reduce multi-drug-resistant infections in nursing homes.

Dr. Lona Mody says there's much at stake for nursing home residents, as well as others.

"Nursing home patients may be transferred back to the hospital for a problem or for an acute illness,  and bring that organism with them to the hospital," says Mody.

Staff at six southeast Michigan nursing homes were told to assume all patients with catheters and feeding tubes had the infections.

Then they were taught how to avoid transmitting the microbes to others.

Mody says staff at nursing homes have a lot of demands on their time and attention, so they tried to make the training fun, with infection prevention Jeopardy games, for example.

Researchers also tested at-risk patients for the presence of multi-drug resistant organisms every month, and provided the data to the nursing homes.

The study found all device-associated infections dropped by 45%, and new acquisitions of drug-resistant organisms dropped by 23%.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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