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Cheaper Way to Stop MRSA Adds No Patient Risk

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, October 7, 2013

"But I don't think wearing gloves and gowns costs more than $150,000 to $250,000 a year for the typical ICU. We agonize over cost issues like that in infection control because generally, we don't have the ear of the C-suite as much as other specialists.

In an accompanying JAMA editorial, Preeti N. Malani, MD, in the Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Michigan Health System, wrote that researchers finding that adverse events were not increased when caregivers took the time to glove and gown was one of the paper's most important points.

"The evidence to support infection prevention efforts is a moving target; contact precautions and decolonization strategies are just a few components of an expanding armamentarium," he wrote.

Even though the study failed to demonstrate an overall benefit in use of gloves and gowns to reduce MRSA or VRE, "this approach may be worth considering in some instances; for example, if MRSA transmission is prevalent in a high-risk setting such as a surgical ICU with a large number of patients with newly implanted medical devices," he wrote.

"If implemented, gloving and gowning should be just part of an overall strategy that includes efforts to optimize hand hygiene and prudent use of antimicrobials."

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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