Background The influence of hospital design on nosocomial transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is unknown. Our hospital's relocation to a new building with radically different ward design allowed us to study this question. Our old hospital facility had open bay wards and intensive care units, and few poorly located sinks for handwashing (bed:sink ratio 4:1). Our new hospital facility had optimized hand-washing geography and distribution of ward beds into mostly single or double rooms (bed:sink ratio 1.3:1). Methods We compared the prevalence of MRSA in the 2 institutions by obtaining nasal swabs from all patients on 8 selected wards and intensive care units at 2 time points both before and after the move. In addition, passive surveillance rates of MRSA for all hospitalized patients for 2 years both before and after the move were compared. Hand hygiene practices, although unrelated to the study periods, were directly observed. Results Eight of 123 patients cultured before the move were MRSA positive, compared to 5 of 138 patients cultured after the move (P=NS). MRSA prevalence determined by passive surveillance of all hospitalized patients before and after the move was also unchanged. An insignificant increase in the frequency of hand-hygiene performance following the move (20% to 23%) was observed. Conclusion Radical facility design changes, which would be permissive of optimal infection control practices, were not sufficient, by themselves, to reduce the nosocomial spread of MRSA in our institution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases