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Control of vancomycin-resistant enterococci at a community hospital: efficacy of patient and staff cohorting


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of patient and staff cohorting to control vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) at an Indianapolis community hospital.

DESIGN: To interrupt transmission of VRE, a VRE point-prevalence survey of hospital inpatients was conducted, and VRE-infected or -colonized patients were cohorted on a single ward with dedicated nursing staff and patient-care equipment. To assess the impact of the intervention, staff compliance with contact isolation procedures was observed, and the VRE point-prevalence survey was repeated 2 months after the cohort ward was established.

RESULTS: Following the establishment of the cohort ward, VRE prevalence among all hospitalized inpatients decreased from 8.1% to 4.7% (25 positive cultures among 310 patients compared to 13 positive cultures among 276 patients, P=.14); VRE prevalence among patients whose VRE status was unknown before cultures were obtained decreased from 5.9% to 0.8% (18 positive cultures among 303 patients compared to 2 positive cultures among 262 patients, P=.002); and observed staff-patient interactions compliant with published isolation recommendations increased (5 [22%] of 23 interactions compared to 36 [88%] of 41 interactions, P<.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that, in hospitals with endemic VRE or continued VRE transmission despite implementation of contact isolation measures, establishing a VRE cohort ward may be a practical and effective method to improve compliance with infection control measures and thereby to control epidemic or endemic VRE transmission.

Jochimsen EM, Fish L, Manning K, Young S, Singer DA, Baker R, Jarvis WR

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1999 Feb;20(2):106-9

PMID: 10064213