By: Nan Callender-Price, RN, MA, Executive Director, Continuing Nursing Education at Nurse.com
Another bad bug has made its debut on the acute and long-term care scene: carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae(CRE).
Up to half of patients who develop a bloodstream infection from CRE die, according to the CDC. CRE is another potentially lethal bacteria to add to the growing list of malevolent antibiotic-resistant bacteria: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and Clostridium difficile. No surprise — CRE attacks our most vulnerable: Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators, urinary catheters and IV catheters and patients taking long courses of antibiotics are at greatest risk.
The 20th century unveiled the life-saving discovery of antibiotics. Our challenge today is to promote judicious use of them and prevent the manifestations resulting from their overuse. The CDC lists eight core measures facilities and healthcare providers should follow to fend off CRE: hand hygiene; contact precautions; healthcare personnel education; minimizing the use of devices, such as urinary catheters; patient and staff cohorting; laboratory notification; and antimicrobial stewardship. More details from the CDC can be found here.
The CDC’s eight core measures are not rocket science, and we’ve certainly heard them before. With more than 3 million nurses in the U.S., we should be able to stem the rise of CRE and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As we celebrate National Nurses Week, let’s remember: Our unique nursing expertise, combined with sheer numbers, has the potential to stop this new bug and others dead in their tracks.
The courses below will help jumpstart your efforts:
Antibiotic Resistance: The Emergence of ‘Super Bugs’
Provides an overview of the increasing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria throughout healthcare and offers strategies for reducing the spread of resistance
MRSA May Be Waiting Right Around the Corner
Comprehensively reviews MRSA and prevention strategies for this culprit
C. Difficile Threatens Hospitalized Patients
Discusses this relatively new superbug in hospitals and long-term care facilities and offers strategies for reducing its spread
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci: The Battle Goes On
Provides information about VRE in healthcare settings and infection prevention practices to reduce its spread