The Benefits of a Preoperative MRSA Swabbing Protocol

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Infection control practices pose a challenge to nursing care in general, but can have a huge negative impact on the perioperative process. Prior to July of 2012, our institution did not perform routine methacillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening on preoperative patients with a prior history of MRSA. This resulted in patients remaining in isolation throughout their entire perioperative course. Screening for MRSA was delayed until the patient arrived in the medical surgical unit. Many of these patients were later found to have negative nasal swabs. The delay in screening often resulted in the unnecessary use of supplies (increased cost), delayed post anesthesia care unit (PACU) bay turnover and decreased staff satisfaction. Meetings with Hospital Infection Control, lab personnel and PACU staff resulted in the development of a preoperative MRSA swabbing protocol. In July of 2012 a preoperative MRSA swabbing protocol was implemented. Since implementation, the PACU has experienced a cost savings between $7,200- $11,800, a minimum of 40 minutes on PACU bay turnover and an increase in staff satisfaction.

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