Background: We undertook a microbiologic survey of long-term care facilities to categorize bacteria found in cultures of residents. Culture and sensitivity data were collected on 566 samples from indwelling bladder catheters, percutaneous gastrostomy tubes, nares, stool, wounds, pressure ulcers, and tracheostomies in 25 Nebraska and Iowa facilities. Information was also collected on resident factors (eg, presence of indwelling urinary catheter, prior antibiotic administration) and institutional variables (eg, number of beds, nosocomial infection rates).
Results: There were 478 gram-negative isolates, the leading organisms being Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. There were 221 gram-positive isolates, the most frequently seen of which were enterococci and Staphylococcus aureus. Of the 442 residents sampled in the study, 168 (38%) were taking, or had within the previous month been taking, a systemic antibiotic. Quinolones were the most frequently prescribed antibiotic class. The institutional prevalence of urinary catheterization averaged 6.7%.
Conclusions: Significant antibiotic pressure exists in long-term care facilities, a fact that is reflected in antibiotic resistance patterns. A variety of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were found in nursing home culture specimens.