Discontinuation of Contact Precautions for MRSA and VRE

Contact precautions for endemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) are a resource-intensive intervention to reduce healthcare-associated infections, potentially impeding patient throughput and limiting bed availability to isolate other contagious pathogens. Schrank, et al. (2019) investigated the impact of the discontinuation of contact precautions (DcCP) for endemic MRSA and VRE on patient outcomes and operations metrics in an acute care setting.

The study was a retrospective, quasi-experimental analysis of the 12 months before and after DcCP for MRSA and VRE at an academic medical centre. The frequency for bed closures due to contact isolation was measured, and personal protective equipment (PPE) expenditures and patient satisfaction survey results were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Using an interrupted time series design, emergency department (ED) admission wait times and rates of patient falls, pressure ulcers and nosocomial MRSA and VRE clinical isolates were compared using GEEs.

Prior to DcCP, bed closures for MRSA and/or VRE isolation were associated with estimated lost hospital charges of $9383 per 100 bed days (95% CI: 8447 to 10 318). No change in ED wait times or change in trend was observed following DcCP. There were significant reductions in monthly expenditures on gowns (−61.0%) and gloves (−16.3%). Patient satisfaction survey results remained stable. No significant changes in rates or trends were observed for patient falls or pressure ulcers. Incidence rates of nosocomial MRSA (1.58 (95% CI: 0.82 to 3.04)) and VRE (1.02 (95% CI: 0.82 to 1.27)) did not significantly change.

The researchers concluded that DcCP was associated with an increase in bed availability and revenue recovery, and a reduction in PPE expenditures. Benefits for other hospital operations metrics and patient outcomes were not identified.

Reference: Schrank GM, et al. The discontinuation of contact precautions for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus: Impact upon patient adverse events and hospital operations. BMJ Quality & Safety.


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