The local and national news has been full of stories about wide-spread MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA is a variation of a common bacterium which has evolved the ability to survive treatment with antibiotics, including penicillin and methicillin. The organism is especially troublesome in nursing homes where residents may be found who have open wounds (decubitus ulcers or pressure sores and skin tears) and weakened immune systems and who are therefore at great risk for infection.
The spread of MRSA, particularly the more dangerous variety of “invasive MRSA” can be reduced by the practice of good hygiene by health care providers. The frequent use of alcohol wipes and good hand-washing can go a long way to prevent the spread of this life-threatening infection. However, if you have a loved one in a nursing home and you see any evidence of infection (increased temperature, swelling or redness around breaks in the skin, etc.) you should request immediate attention by a doctor….not a nurse…not even the Director of Nursing!
Get your resident to his or her doctor immediately…or you may regret your inaction for a long time to come!