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Private Room ICU May Reduce Infection Acquisition

Infection rate drops with shift from multibed to single-room units

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients in single-room intensive care units (ICUs) acquire fewer infectious organisms than those treated in multibed ICUs, according to research published in the Jan. 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Dana Y. Teltsch, of McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues compared the rate at which infectious organisms were acquired by patients in an ICU before and after a change from a multibed unit to single rooms, using ICU infection acquisition rates at a nearby hospital with both multibed and single rooms as a control.

The researchers reported a 54 percent decrease in acquisition of Clostridium difficile, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus species, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus combined after the intervention. There were reductions in acquisition rates for 12 common and likely exogenous and exogenous/endogenous organisms, and the reduction was statistically significant for half of those organisms. There was no effect observed on the acquisition of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species, the most common endogenous organism. In addition, after the intervention the adjusted rate ratio of the average length of stay in the ICU fell by 10 percent.

"Conversion to single rooms can substantially reduce the rate at which patients acquire infectious organisms while in the ICU," the authors write.

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