Overcrowding and understaffing in hospitals increases levels of MRSA infections

Jun 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?"

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fun cryptography app pleases students and teachers

8 hours ago

Up on Google Play this week is Cryptoy...something that you might want to check out if you or someone you know wishes entry into the world of cryptography via an educational and fun app. You learn more about ciphers and keys; you ...

Recommended for you

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears

4 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate vote that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

Dec 19, 2014

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.