Health Team

Private ICU rooms cut hospital infections

Posted February 11, 2011

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— Hospitals are working hard to control bacterial infections that patients can acquire there, and a new study shows that introducing private rooms in an intensive care unit can slash infection rates by more than half.

Rex Hospital in Raleigh puts a single patient in each room in its ICU.

"There are a lot of older hospitals around the country that still use shared rooms. The literature clearly shows you can decrease hospital-associated infections with separate rooms," said Dr. Gerald Maccioll, an anesthesiologist with Rex.

Private rooms can prevent infection in hospitals Private rooms can prevent infection in hospitals

A recent study showed that private ICU rooms cut the spread of three types of hospital-acquired bacterial infections by 54 percent: MRSA (methycillin resistant staphylococcus areus), C-Diff (clostridium difficile) and VRE (vancomycin resistant enterrococcus). Results of the study were published in the January issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Privacy is just one layer of infection control.

An infection-monitoring service at Rex identifies patients who might require more isolation measures. Sanitizing stations and signs at the door of each room are a reminder to staff, family and visitors.

"Sanitize yourself before entering a patient's room, leaving a patient's room and pretty much anytime you think about it," said Dr. Francis Castiller, an ICU physician at Rex.

Patient Patsy Wilson was in Rex's ICU for three weeks while undergoing three major surgeries for a haital hernia. She was in an induced coma for much of her stay, but when she awoke, she was thankful for the privacy – and control of the thermostat.

"You could have the room as cold as you wanted, and my room was so cold. I kept it that cold because I was hot all the time," Wilson said.

The study also found that private ICU rooms also contributed to decreased length of hospital stays and decreased death rate among patients.


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  • olive91988 Feb 18, 2011

    Why is WRAL is focusing only on Rex Hospital?? ALL hospitals in the area have private ICU rooms. I have never seen an ICU that had shared rooms. I don't doubt that there are handful out there, but they are extremely few and far between. WRAL should get advertising dollars from Rex for that article or report it like it really is, not skewed towards one hospital.

  • Arapaloosa Feb 15, 2011

    This is obviously an advertisement for Rex... I have installed heart monitors in most of the hospitals in eastern NC, and have NEVER seen a non-private ICU room...

  • Massdaddy Feb 15, 2011

    Hospitals are disgustingly dirty.