Monthly Archives: November 2011

Drug-resistant Bacteria Rampant In Nearly Half Of Rooms Occupied By Infected Patients

A scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a high...

Image via Wikipedia

Surfaces often touched by health care workers during routine patient care are commonly contaminated and may be a source of nosocomial infection (infections that originate or occur in a hospital). 

A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that 48% of hospital rooms where infected patients previously stayed were contaminated with multi-drug resistant bacteria, Acinetobacter baumannii (MDR-AB).  The bacteria cause bacteremia, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and other medical conditions in sick immunosuppressed patients and sometimes in wounded patients.  Ten surfaces in each room was sampled and evaluated for A. baumannii.  The study showed that supply carts (20 percent), hospital room floors (16 percent), infusion pumps (14 percent), ventilator touch pads (11.4 percent), and bedrails (10.2 percent) were contaminated and 85 percent of environmental cultures matched the bacterial strain in patient rooms.  The gram-positive bacteria are difficult to eradicate because they remain on the surfaces for long periods. 

The study authors concluded, “For patients with MDR-AB, the surrounding environment is frequently contaminated, even among patients with a remote history of MDR-AB. Surfaces often touched by health care workers during routine patient care are commonly contaminated and may be a source of nosocomial spread.”  You can read about the study here and here.


Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Healthcare


Tags: , , ,

Hospitals Anti-Tobacco Policies May Put Patient Safety At Risk

When smokers are encouraged to quit, and hospitals are  literally adding a new “Cigarette Policing Department” to their arsenal in an effort to encourage employees and patients to stop smoking, how can patient safety be at risk one might wonder?  When hospitals enforce anti-smoking policies and provide ‘smoking booths’ far away from the buildings, they fail to consider the tobacco withdrawal symptoms of hospitalized smokers. 

A Canadian study by researchers from the University of Manitoba, University of Alberta,and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority was undertaken to look at the effects of anti-smoking and smoke-free policies on patients and staff in two large Canadian hospitals.  They weren’t surprised to find that patients and staff including security staff, ambulance drivers, and clinicians smoked on hospital premises.  When patients left hospital wards to smoke, their whereabouts were sometimes unknown to staff.  Patients with electronic pumps and IV lines are at risk when equipment malfunctions, and patients accidentally getting locked out of hospital entrances on freezing winter nights are only two examples of patient safety hazards.  Additional information:

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Healthcare


Tags: , , , , , ,