Local hospital makes strides in preventing dangerous bacteria

Local hospital makes strides in preventing dangerous bacteria

Amarillo, TX - The VA Health Care System is taking extra measures to reduce the spread of a dangerous bacteria in Amarillo.

Back in 2009, the VA started a preventative program to protect their long-term care patients against the spread of MRSA. According to hospital officials, the program is working.

In five years,VA health professionals have reduced MRSA-causing bacteria cases by 38 percent at their long-term care center. MRSA poses a risk to patients because it can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections. "Because it's antibiotic-resistance, if an infection occurs, it's more difficult to treat," said VA Infection Control Coordinator Ona Montgomery.

To combat the spread of the bacteria, the VA tests each patient admitted to their facility. "Each person that is admitted to the long-term care facility gets a nasal culture, which is usually where it resides when you have it. And then if it's positive, we just take a few extra precautions with them."

Montgomery said more than one-third of the patients admitted to their center test positive for MRSA, which is why the hospital implemented a preventative program. The program involves extensive hand washing throughout the facility, use of gowns and gloves when caring for patients infected with MRSA, and keeping those infected separate from everyone else until treated.

Across the nation, 132 other VA facilities have implemented similar programs at their long-term care centers. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control said the VA programs have resulted in the largest decline of MRSA infections reported at long-term care facilities.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10