Hand Hygiene, Smaller Nurse-to-Patient Ratio Have Impact on Reducing MRSA Rates

In his presentation at the 50th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy earlier this week, Sean Barnes, a PhD student at the University of Maryland, reported data showing that hand hygiene compliance by healthcare workers, coupled with a reduced nurse-to-patient ratio had an impact on reducing the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the intensive care unit (ICU).

In a one-year study of a 20-bed ICU, Barnes modeled changes in MRSA acquisition rates when altering nurse-to-patient ratios at 1:4, 1:3, 1:2 and finally 1:1, and found that the smallest possible ratio accounted for the most significant reductions, provided that it is economically viable for the healthcare institution.

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