Overcrowding and understaffing in hospitals increases levels of MRSA infections

June 24, 2008

A review article authored by a University of Queensland academic has found overcrowding and understaffing in hospitals are two key factors in the transmission of MRSA (Meticillin - Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) infections worldwide.

Dr Archie Clements, from the School of Population Health, reported overcrowding and understaffing increased levels of MRSA infections, which lead to increased inpatient hospital stay, bed blocking, overcrowding and more MRSA infections.

The review included information from 140 papers and Dr Clements was part of a team of seven authors.

The article titled: Overcrowding and understaffing in modern health-care systems: key determinants in Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) transmission, was published today in the July edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Dr Clements said MRSA was an antibiotic-resistant type of Staphylococcus Aureus, a common bacteria present on the skin and in the nostrils of many healthy people.

"MRSA often colonises hospital patients to no ill effect but, if present in a surgical wound or carried to the bloodstream by an intravenous catheter, it can cause serious infection and possibly the death of the patient," he said.

Dr Clements said overcrowding and understaffing caused higher levels of MRSA because of its impact on hand hygiene, the number of contacts between healthcare workers and different patients, overburdening of screening and isolation programmes and by causing staff burnout.

"MRSA worsens overcrowding because patients with MRSA stay longer in hospitals and, if isolation in multi-bed rooms is done, beds not occupied by the MRSA patient are also closed to other patients," he said.

"Overcrowding and understaffing, root causes of the MRSA problem, are partly related to policy that promotes high patient throughput and fewer beds, and partly to a diminishing, ageing health care workforce.

"These problems are likely to continue or worsen, and impact on patient health and safety, unless new ways are found to reduce overcrowding and understaffing of hospitals."

Dr Clements hoped to use the findings to initiate more research into the relationship between overcrowding/understaffing and MRSA to answer questions such as: "What are the optimal bed occupancy and staffing rates for preventing avoidable MRSA infections while maintaining current levels of care?" and "What is the likely impact of MRSA interventions under conditions of overcrowding and understaffing?"
-end-


Research Australia

Related MRSA Articles from Brightsurf:

Widely available antibiotics could be used in the treatment of 'superbug' MRSA
Some MRSA infections could be tackled using widely-available antibiotics, suggests new research from an international collaboration led by scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Computer model shows how to better control MRSA outbreaks
A research team led by scientists at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health report on a new method to help health officials control outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a life-threatening antibiotic-resistant infection often seen in hospitals.

Using MRSA's strength against it
MRSA evolved to become a deadly killer because it's wily and resilient.

Livestock-associated MRSAfound among MRSA from humans
The survey results show more frequent detections and geographical dispersion of LA-MRSA in humans in the EU/EEA since 2007, and highlight the public health and veterinary importance of LA-MRSA as a 'One Health' issue.

Fighting MRSA with new membrane-busting compounds
Public health officials are increasingly concerned over methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Know thy enemy: Kill MRSA with tailored chemistry
UConn medicinal chemists have developed experimental antibiotics that kill MRSA, a common and often deadly bacteria that causes skin, lung, and heart infections.

MRSA uses decoys to evade a last-resort antibiotic
The superbug MRSA uses decoys to evade a last-resort antibiotic, reveals new research.

Scientists find a salty way to kill MRSA
Scientists have discovered a new way to attack Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Experimental antibiotic treats deadly MRSA infection
A new experimental antibiotic developed by a team of scientists at Rutgers University successfully treats the deadly MRSA infection and restores the efficacy of a commonly prescribed antibiotic that has become ineffective against MRSA.

OU team develops new antibiotic to fight MRSA
A University of Oklahoma team of chemists has developed a new antibiotic formulation to fight the sometimes deadly staph infection caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus or MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant infectious bacteria.

Read More: MRSA News and MRSA Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.