Nosocomial infection and antibiotic utilization in geriatric patients: a pilot prospective surveillance program in skilled nursing facilities

Gerontology. 1992;38(4):223-32. doi: 10.1159/000213332.


Prospective surveillance of nosocomial infection was conducted at seven skilled proprietary nursing facilities in Orange County, Calif., USA. The average incidence of facility-acquired infection was 5.2 infections/1,000 patient days. The most common source of infection was urinary tract (47%), followed by respiratory tract (26%) and skin (14%). The four most common pathogens isolated were Proteus spp. (20%), Escherichia coli (17%), Staphylococcus aureus (13%) and Pseudomonas spp. (11%). Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (20%) was the most frequently used antibiotic among all prescriptions, followed by ampicillin (16%) and ciprofloxacin (14%). Among all residents surveyed, 33% received at least one course of antibiotics during the study. Of special significance was the fact that 4 (22%) of the 18 strains of Pseudomonas were gentamicin resistant as were 12 of 80 (15%) of the strains of Enterobacteriaceae. Furthermore, 9 of 29 (31%) strains of Pseudomonas tested were found resistant to norfloxacin as were 15 of 129 (12%) strains of enterobacteriaceae. Susceptibility patterns of the isolated pathogens were similar to those of the acute care hospital. This study indicates that infection continues to be a major problem in the skilled nursing facility and that antibiotic-resistant pathogens will be a challenge for the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities / statistics & numerical data*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents