A study by Australian researchers has found that overcrowding and understaffing is contributing to hospitals’ inability to control methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), reported Medical News Today.
The study was led by Dr Archie Clements, from the School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Australia, and was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
The researchers highlighted the relationship between rates of infection and the healthcare worker to patient ratio. Analysis suggested that over 25% of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) from intensive care units could have been avoided had hospitals operated with at or below a ratio of 2.2 patients per healthcare worker.
According to the study, the increase is leading to a vicious circle, whereby MRSA-infected patients are hindering new admissions by occupying beds for longer.
Also, the high in numbers of MRSA-infected patients often exceeded the capacity of hospitals’ isolation facilities.
The authors concluded:
“Overcrowding and understaffing have had a negative effect on patient safety and quality of care, evidenced by the flourishing of health-care-acquired MRSA infections in many countries, despite efforts to control and prevent these infections occurring.”