The Role of Nursing Homes in the Spread of Antimicrobial Resistance Over the Healthcare Network
Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology July 2016 V.37 N.7 P.761 – 767
Carline van den Doola1 c1, Anja Haenena1, Tjalling Leenstraa1 and Jacco Wallingaa1a2
a1 Center for Infectious Disease Control (CIb), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
a2 Department of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Recerntly, the role of the healthcare network, defined as a set of hospitals linked by patient transfers, has been increasingly considered in the control of antimicrobial resistance. Here, we investigate the potential impact of nursing homes on the spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens across the healthcare network and its importance for control strategies.
Based on patient transfer data, we designed a network model representing the Dutch healthcare system of hospitals and nursing homes. We simulated the spread of an antimicrobial-resistant pathogen across the healthcare network, and we modeled transmission within institutions using a stochastic susceptible–infected–susceptible (SIS) epidemic model. Transmission between institutions followed transfers. We identified the contribution of nursing homes to the dispersal of the pathogen by comparing simulations of the network with and without nursing homes.
Our results strongly suggest that nursing homes in the Netherlands have the potential to drive and sustain epidemics across the healthcare network. Even when the daily probability of transmission in nursing homes is much lower than in hospitals, transmission of resistance can be more effective because of the much longer length of stay of patients in nursing homes.
If an antimicrobial-resistant pathogen emerges that spreads easily within nursing homes, control efforts aimed at hospitals may no longer be effective in preventing nationwide outbreaks. It is important to consider nursing homes in planning regional and national infection control and in implementing surveillance systems that monitor the spread of antimicrobial resistance.