Do You Have a Superbug Strategy?

Best Ways to Prevent Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Hospitals

Preventing antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals is a rising issue in today’s healthcare environment. The Houston Methodist Research Institute, along with the Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, recently performed a comprehensive study of K. pneumoniae. The study looked at the numerous strains of the bacteria that were the cause of infection at Houston Methodist between September 2011 and May 2015. The surprising finding was that more than one-third of the Houston Methodist patients studied were infected with an otherwise rare strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae.

This is disconcerting for the medical center because many strains of the Klebsiella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. Fortunately, this particular strain still responds to some of the available antibiotics.

Prevention of these types of infections in the hospital setting is, or should be, the top priority of healthcare facilities. Healthcare Acquired Infections, or HAIs, are a serious issue for healthcare facilities, putting into jeopardy not only the financial health of an institution, but its reputation as a place of healing as well.

As part of a comprehensive HAI control plan, there are several infection control precautions that can be taken to reduce the spread of these powerful germs.

Hand Hygiene

The number one method for preventing the spread of bacteria and other pathogens is hand hygiene. Hand hygiene applies to everyone in a healthcare facility, including visitors, patients, staff, and employees. Clinicians should wash hands in between visits with patients and performing procedures. Patients should wash their hands whenever possible, and likewise, visitors should wash their hands before and after entering a patient’s hospital room.

Gowns and Gloves

Gowns and gloves should always be used when entering the rooms of patients with infectious illnesses. Gloves should be used before touching the patient or any surface of the patient’s room. Also, it is important to have a standard method to properly and safely dispose of gowns and gloves after use.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning and disinfecting of the healthcare environment is the most important step that a healthcare facility can take towards preventing the spread of Healthcare Acquired Infections. Facilities must have routine and targeted cleaning of environmental surfaces, especially those in the direct vicinity of patient care, such as bedrails and tables. Staff should be well trained in the proper way to clean and disinfect medical equipment and devices in order to effectively remove bacteria. The products used to sanitize must also be properly used according to manufacturer instructions.

HAIs are a major issue today for all healthcare facilities. Superbugs show no signs of slowing down and are in fact becoming resistant to more antibiotics every day. An outbreak is devastating to all involved, including patients and their families, as well as hospital staff. So, don’t wait until it happens. Get ahead of these devastating superbugs with a strong and consistent germ-fighting strategy now. Partner with a Johnston expert to put in place the proper operating procedures for your team and ensure your facility is as germ-free as possible.

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