Patients in Hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU) often acquire infections, imposing a heavy human and financial burden. A new study published January 10, 2011 in the Archives of Internal Medicine found and documented that private rooms in hospital intensive care units reduce significantly the incidents of infections.
The study, entitled “Infection Acquisition Following Intensive Care Unit Room Privatization,” was conducted by doctors at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
It has been reported that approximately three out of every 10 ICU patients contract some type of infection during their hospital stay, keeping them in the hospital for an average of eight to nine days longer adding an estimated $3.5 billion to the nation’s healthcare tab each year. This study suggests that a solution to this $3.5-billion problem may be straightforward: Make all ICU rooms private.
The study found that the adjusted rate of acquisition of Clostridium difficile (C-Dif), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus species (VRE), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) combined decreased by 54% after a new ICU with only single-occupancy rooms was opened at Montreal General Hospital. The infection rate of MRSA alone fell by 47%, and C-Dif infections alone fell by 43%. Too few VRE cases were involved to make a statistically siginficant comparison.
These rates were compared, as a control, to infection rates during the same time period (between 2000 and 2005), at a nearby university teaching hospital, Royal Victoria Hospital, where eight rooms were private but other rooms shared as many as six beds. (The hospitals were ideal for comparison because both were part of the McGill University hospital system and shared the same director, physicians, nurse-to-patient ratio and infection control policies.) No comparable decline in infection rates was found at Royal Victoria Hospital, where the shared ICU rooms continued to exist.
In addition to the above findings, the rate of infection with species of Acinetobacter was 53% lower at Montreal General. Cases of yeast infections fell by 51%, while infections with Enterobacter and Klebsiella species each fell by 38%.
Researchers reported that the bacteria spread less at Montreal General and that contributed to the overall decline in infection rates.
During the five years of the study, the average length of hospital stay for ICU patients increased in both hospitals, but the increase was 10% less for ICU patients at Montreal General, where the infection rates were lowered after implementing the all private ICU rooms.
“The drastic improvement in the physical facility of the ICU from common rooms to private rooms yielded a dramatic reduction in the transmission of bacteria and yeast,” the researchers concluded.
Read the original study at: Infection Acquisition Following Intensive Care Unit Room Privatization – Archives of Internal Medicine
See also » Private ICU rooms in hospitals aren’t just a luxury — they could be a lifesaver – latimes.com.
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