This year the CDC released an infographic that explains the role in which nursing facilities and hospital play in increasing the rates of antibiotic resistance, because of this hospitals around the country have taken steps at decreasing the rate of antibiotic resistance through the creation of new hospital protocols and committees that provide educational information to staff and patients, and even physicians! In addition, researchers have been discovering new forms of antibacterial that may help decrease the amount of deaths associated with super-bugs.
What have the hospitals in the Portland-area done to combat antibiotic resistance and why is it so important??
OHSU or Oregon Health Science University has become a national leader in the fight against antibiotic resistance, starting in 2004 Elizabeth Steiner, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine at the OHSU School of Medicine and her team received a two-year $226,000 national grant and created a national model to teach primary care physicians-in-training appropriate antibiotic use. Which is why in family medicine, physicians have become very strict on releasing antibiotics to patients; they are requiring more appointments for patients to insure that their symptoms in fact warrant an antibiotic. Furthermore, they are also taking the resources from the AWARE website which explains what symptoms are viral vs. bacterial, so during the triage process a nurse can give correct treatment information to the patient and advise them if an appointment is required for an antibiotic.
Then in March of 2011, Researchers at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital identified a new approach to overcoming drug resistance in children with an extremely aggressive childhood muscle cancer known as alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma and later in January of this year OHSU Researchers made a new discovery of a mollusk which revealed that one form of bacteria utilized by shipworms secretes a powerful antibiotic, which may hold promise for combating human diseases. These are just some of the major things OHSU has been doing to decrease the rate of antibiotic resistance. But why is it so important? Margo Haygood, Ph.D., a member of the OHSU Institute of Environmental Health and a professor of science and engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine states “the reason why this line of research is so critical is because antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to human health,” This is why OHSU has also created an infection control department for the hospital that focuses, especially during the cold and flu season, on hand washing. This department creates new protocols that require OHSU staff to monitor the rate of staff hand washing and sanitation of patient areas. The goal around this is to decrease the spread of bacteria and staff is disciplined if they are not complying with OHSU standards. These actions are small steps in the scheme of things, but they have major benefits in the long run.