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Infection control strategies for preventing the spread of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in nursing homes for older people

Hughes C, Tunney M, Bradley MC
Published Online: 
19 November 2013

MRSA is a bacterium that can cause infection in people, particularly those who are in hospital. MRSA is now becoming a problem for older people (residents) who live in nursing homes. Nursing homes are ideal places for MRSA to spread: the residents live close to each other, many have a number of medical conditions and may receive several prescriptions for antibiotics, and some may have pressure sores and medical devices such as catheters. All of these factors increase the risk of residents getting MRSA, and so increase their risk of dying.

Many different ways of preventing the spread of MRSA have been studied, particularly in hospitals; however, we found only one study that looked at whether an infection control education and training programme influenced the spread of MRSA in nursing homes for older people. This study showed there was no difference between the group that was involved in the programme and the comparison group which continued with their normal practice.

Although there is some evidence for techniques that work well to prevent the spread of MRSA in hospital, it is not clear if these approaches will work in nursing homes for older people. Further research is needed to establish what will work in nursing homes.