Chlorhexidine Bathing Routine Reduces Infections in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes using a chlorhexidine bathing routine to clean the skin and nose with over-the-counter antiseptic solutions prevents serious infections and reduces the amount of antibiotic resistant organisms in the nursing home, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to an AHRQ-funded study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Each year, 3 million healthcare-associated infections in U.S. nursing homes cause 150,000 hospital admissions and 350,000 deaths. Researchers found that in nursing homes using the bathing routine, known as decolonization, two residents per month avoided transfers to the hospital due to infections. These nursing homes also significantly reduced transfers to the hospital for other causes. Nursing homes that used decolonization also saw significant reduction in the overall prevalence of multidrug-resistant organisms including MRSA, vancomycin-resistant Enterococci, and other resistant bacteria. Access the study and the AHRQ press release.