January 2009 Volume 33 No. 1
MRSA reminder

MRSA nares screening, a component of Senate bill 1058, went into effect Jan. 1 and requires MRSA screening within 24 hours of admission for a subgroup of inpatients who meet the following criteria:

ICU admissions
Inpatient hemodialysis
Discharged from general acute care hospital within 30 days
Transfer from SNF

The patients who require screening will be identified by nursing.

Physicians and their staff members should understand that notification of a positive test must be made to the patient or patient representative “immediately or as soon as practically possible,” said Lucy Tomkins, hospital epidemiologist, and Sasha Madison, manager of infection control and the epidemiology department.

Here is an example of what to say to a patient and possible followup response to a typical patient question:

Your nose (nares) culture for MRSA came back positive. The purpose of this test is to provide you and your healthcare team information so the spread of MRSA can be prevented.

Q: What does a positive test mean?

A: It means that at the time your nose was swabbed, the results showed you are positive for MRSA, or colonized. If you are only colonized, you are not infected and no treatment is necessary.

A more extensive description of the law and its implications for caregivers and patients was reported in the December Medical Staff Update (click here) and is available online with further information, including a longer physician Q and A tool, that can be downloaded [click for pdf].

For further questions, contact the SHC Infection Control Dept. at (650) 725-1106.