Nursing School Awarded CDC Contract to Study Infection Surveillance and Reporting in Nursing Homes


A research team led by Patricia Stone, PhD, the Centennial Professor of Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing, has been awarded a one-year, $375,000 contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study the barriers to nursing homes’ reporting of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and multidrug-resistant organisms into the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), as well as the resources needed to overcome those barriers. The NHSN is an internet-based infection-tracking system managed by the CDC.

The project, “Barriers and Facilitators for National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Adoption in Nursing Homes,” is one of 34 funded by the CDC as part of the Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative, a $14 million effort to combat the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Stone’s research team includes Columbia Nursing co-investigator Carolyn Herzig, PhD, associate research scientist, as well as a RAND Corporation team led by Andy Dick, PhD.

“The identification and reporting of infections in nursing homes,” said Stone, “especially those caused by C. difficile and multidrug-resistant organisms, is a crucial first step toward developing better ways to prevent and reduce infection, improve resident quality of life, and reduce the cost of care. We are gratified that our research on nursing home enrollment in the NHSN will contribute to the CDC’s critical efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.”

“Antibiotics are life-saving medicines, but the spread of antibiotic resistance threatens their future effectiveness," said Clifford McDonald, MD, associate director of science for CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. It is important that we identify previously under-recognized routes of transmission for antibiotic resistance between patients so that new prevention strategies can be developed. This project is an example of applied research that has the potential to produce innovative public health approaches to better combat antibiotic resistance.”

As of March 2016, only 1.9 percent of the nation’s 15,700 nursing homes had enrolled in the NHSN. It is not clear if nursing homes are not enrolling because of a lack of knowledge of the NHSN system, a lack of resources (e.g., staffing or information technology) or a lack of perceived benefit.

Source: Columbia University School of Nursing

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