Thursday, February 10, 2011

Private Rooms in Hospital Intensive Care Units Could Be a Life Saver

While private rooms are extremely nice for patients and families this new study has shown that they are safer too. As we learned in lecture many ICU patients wind up with some kind of infection during their stay at the hospital [nosocomial acquired infection]. These infections keep people in the hospital for an additional eight to nine days which adds an estimated $3.5 billion to the nation's healthcare tab each year. While this may seem like an impossible sum to reduce there is a simple solution: make all the ICU rooms private.

At Montreal General Hospital, the infection rate considerably fell after a new ICU was opened. This unit only contained single-occupancy rooms. Between 2000-2005, the rate that ICU patients acquired MRSA, Clostridium difficle, VRE was 54% lower than in the ICU at the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital. At the Royal Victoria Hospital there were only 8 rooms that were private with a majority of them share up to six beds.

When the study looked only at MRSA rates alone, the infection rate was 47% lower at Montreal General than Royal Victoria. For C. difficle the rate 43% lower. There was also a difference in the amount of time patients spent at the hospital. Just like the simple solution of Doctor's washing their hands, this easy solution could achieve great results.

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