Decolonization – Universal and Targeted
Decolonization is an infection prevention practice that removes germs from a person’s skin. It is often used in healthcare facilities when patients carry methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or other dangerous germs on their bodies. It can keep them from developing an infection themselves or passing the germs on to others.
Decolonization includes an antiseptic bathing routine using a special soap on the skin and applying an ointment in the nose. This practice has been shown to rid the body of germs and reduce infections overall, including hard-to-treat MRSA infections.
PROTECT Trial NEW
In a cluster-randomized trial of 28 nursing homes, the 14 who used universal decolonization reduced resident transfers to a hospital for infection, even with imperfect application.
This cluster-randomized trial of 53 hospitals investigated the use of decolonization to prevent infection in non–intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Patients with specific medical devices who were decolonized had a 30 percent reduction in bloodstream infections. The trial was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and AHRQ developed a toolkit to support implementation.
In a cluster-randomized trial comparing universal decolonization to two routine infection prevention practices, universal decolonization was found to reduce all-cause bloodstream infections by more than 40 percent in ICU patients.