Translational models of infection prevention and control: lessons from studying high risk aging populations

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The present review describes our research experiences and efforts in advancing the field of infection prevention and control in nursing facilities including postacute and long-term care settings.

Recent findings

There are over two million infections in postacute and long-term care settings each year in the United States and $4 billion in associated costs. To define a target group most amenable to infection prevention and control interventions, we sought to quantify the relation between indwelling device use and microbial colonization in nursing facility patients. Using various methodologies including survey methods, observational epidemiology, randomized controlled studies, and collaboratives, we showed that (1) indwelling device type is related to the site of multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) colonization; (2) multianatomic site colonization with MDROs is common; (3) community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) appeared in the nursing facility setting almost immediately following its emergence in acute care; (4) MDRO prevalence and catheter-associated infection rates can be reduced through a multimodal targeted infection prevention intervention; and (5) using a collaborative approach, such an intervention can be successfully scaled up.

Summary

Our work advances the infection prevention field through translational research utilizing various methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative surveys, patient-oriented randomized controlled trials, and clinical microbiologic and molecular methods. The resulting interventions employ patient-oriented methods to reduce infections and antimicrobial resistance, and with partnerships from major national entities, can be implemented nationally.

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