Archive December 2018 XIX, No. 12

6 Ways to Stamp Out Superbugs

Healthcare-associated infections are on the decline, but antibiotic-resistant bacteria remain a constant threat.

Maureen Spencer

Maureen Spencer, MEd, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC


Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING Be sure to discontinue antibiotic prophylaxis within 24 hours of surgery to avoid the antibiotic overuse that has led to the proliferation of superbugs.

First, some good news. Superbug infections are slowing down somewhat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month that patients’ risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) caused by superbug strains of Clostridium difficile or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) dropped by 16% between 2011 and 2015, as well as a 6% decrease in surgical site infections (SSIs).

Now, a dose of reality. The American College of Surgeons says SSIs are still the most common cause of HAIs and cost the healthcare system an estimated $10 billion to treat each year. More importantly, patients who suffer post-op infections are 5 times more likely to be re-hospitalized and 2 times more likely to die after surgery. So while the CDC’s findings are certainly encouraging, there’s still plenty we can do to help stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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