Nearly 1 in 4 Seniors Leave Hospital With Superbugs on Hands

As if we needed another reason to avoid a trip to the hospital, new research from the University of Michigan Health System has found that an alarming 1 in 4 seniors have superbugs on their hands after a hospital stay.

The study, published in a March 14 JAMA Internal Medicine research letter, followed 357 seniors who had been admitted to hospital for a medical or surgical issue followed by time in a post-acute care facility for rehabilitation before returning home.

Older adults often require rehabilitation time in a PAC facility following surgeries for knee and hip replacements.  Of those studied, nearly a quarter were found to have at least one drug-resistant organism or superbug on their hands as they checked into a rehabilitation center.  Patients were tested regularly for up to six months or until they returned home and the superbugs not only persisted but the rate of occurrence of organisms increased to 34.2 per cent.

Multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO) are believed to flourish in PAC facilities where the frequent use of antibiotics can result in bacteria evolving to become resistant to treatment.   While medical staff and visitors are constantly reminded to wash hands, patient hand washing has not been a routine practice.

That is about to change as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria.  The CDC has outlined a multi-step approach to protecting patients from superbugs including preventing infection, preventing bacteria from spreading and improving antibiotic use.  To learn more about superbugs and fighting MDRO’s visit: .

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