April 27 (UPI) -- Researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing found that a significant portion of nursing home residents are colonized with drug-resistant bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the percentage of multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria, or MDR-GNB, is increasing and these infections can cause serious infections in healthcare settings.
The analysis of 12 studies found the prevalence of MDR-GNB colonization, such as E. coli, among sampled nursing home residents ranged from 11.2 percent to 59.1 percent, for a pooled average of 27 percent.
Researchers found that nine of the 12 studies identified specific factors that are linked to increased MDR-GNB colonization risk such as advanced age, gender, history of recurrent hospitalization, comorbid chronic diseases, increased interaction with healthcare workers, frequent antimicrobial exposure, delayed initiation of effective antibiotic therapy, presence of medical devices, decreased functional status, advanced dementia, fecal incontinence, severe sepsis upon admission, non-ambulatory status and residency in a nursing home.
These factors put nursing home residents at an increased risk of developing infections coupled with their living environment, which is considered a risk factor because of frequent transfers from nursing homes to acute care and hospital settings and back.
"Identifying which patients are most prone to an increased risk of MDR-GNB will enable infection preventionists to tailor efforts and stem future contaminations," Sainfer Allyu, of the Columbia Nursing School, said in a press release. "The results of our study suggest that there is much more to be done with regard to infection prevention within nursing homes, and that increased measures must be taken with elderly patients in regard to MDR-GNB colonization."
The study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control.