Using chlorhexidine on the skin and nose of patients has shown a significant decrease in infection rates and the presence of antibiotic-resistant organisms in nursing home facilities.
It is no secret that people who live in nursing homes have a high risk for healthcare-associated infections because of their age, wounds, medical devices, and other health ailments. With this in mind, researchers in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine assessed approximately 14,000 people and compared bathing routines at 28 nursing homes in California for 18 months, 14 of which utilized regular cleaning methods, while the remaining others used an established method of decolonizing all residents with a special soap, chlorhexidine, and a nasal swab with povidone-iodine (iodophor) to remove pathogens from residents’ skin and nose.
Results of the study found that nursing homes that used this decolonization routine prevented hospitalization due to the infection of two residents per month, as well as reducing the pervasiveness of multidrug-resistant organisms by half when people received the treatments. Additionally, for every 12.5 people who received the intervention, one avoided hospitalization for any cause, and for every 10, one was saved from an infection-related hospitalization.
Robert Otto Valdez, PhD, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, expressed the significance of these findings, stating that manual removal of bacteria from older adults to prevent the life-threatening transfer to hospitals due to infection can not only keep older patients safe but can potentially preserve many patients’ lives.
“With a concrete treatment plan to prevent infection illuminated by this study, Specialty RX looks forward to the reduction of harm from antimicrobial-resistant germs in nursing homes, and a safer life for our patients” – Hema Shaddarshanam, VP of Pharmacy Services