Hospital Privacy Curtains Attract Some Scary Germs

  • Hospital Privacy Curtains Attract Some Scary Germs

Hospital Privacy Curtains Attract Some Scary Germs

Healthcare workers must also regularly wash their hands properly.

'These pathogens on privacy curtains often survive and have the potential to transfer to other surfaces and patients.

"As privacy curtains are used all over the world, it's a global issue", Mody and colleagues explained in a meeting news release. A total of 1521 curtain samples were collected from 625 short-stay patient rooms.

"Hand hygiene narrative has largely focused on physicians, nurses and other frontline staff, and all the policies and performance measurements have centered on them, and rightfully so", says Lona Mody, M.D., M.Sc., the University of MI geriatrician, epidemiologist and patient safety researcher who led the research team.

The most prevalent was VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci) - present in 210 (13.8%) of the cultures grown in the lab.

This other study showed that at least 441 of 1,500 reusable tourniquets had traces of coagulase-negative staphylococci, which is a bacteria that is normally part of the human skin but can cause infections.

Of those samples, almost 14% were contaminated with vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), 6% with resistant gram-negative bacilli, and about 5% with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

In 15.7% (238/1518) of check-ins, patients and their privacy curtains were concurrently colonized with the same MDRO.

What is more, when visits found VRE on the curtain, nearly six in ten (57.6%) patients were also contaminated with the bug.

The findings were scheduled for presentation this week at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, in Amsterdam.

They were particularly interested in any links between bacteria found on the patients and the curtains around their own bed. Curtain contamination was often intermittent among 18 patients with 6 months of follow up.

"MDRO curtain contamination is common in SNFs and often reflects patient colonisation".

Additionally, since many patients arrive at the hospital through the emergency room, and may get tests in other areas before reaching their hospital room, it will be important to study the ecology of MDROs in those areas too, she says.

They hope the results will better inform curtain hygiene protocols. In the US, SNFs care for both post-acute care patients with an average length of stay of 22 days, as well as long-term residents who may be in the facility for up to 2 years.

FRIDAY, April 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) - Privacy curtains in hospital rooms might offer patients some personal dignity, but they can also harbor unsafe, drug-resistant bacteria.

Samples were taken upon admission, and again after 14 days, 30 days, then monthly up to 6 months where possible.

Cleaning procedures for hospital rooms between patients, especially when a patient has been diagnosed with an MDRO infection, have improved over the years, says Mody, and research has shown them to be effective when used consistently. These high-touch surfaces are cleaned infrequently and could contribute to pathogen transmission.

Superbugs are risky multi-drug resistant organisms also referred to as MDROs.

What must be done to keep patients safe from the transmission of bacteria from these contaminated curtains is that the curtains must be regularly cleaned, said Mody.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on antibiotic resistance.

In November a report warned superbug infections could kill 2.4 million people in Europe, the USA and Australia by 2050.