Antimicrobial resistance in long-term-care facilities

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1996 Feb;17(2):129-40. doi: 10.1086/647257.


During the last quarter century, numerous reports have indicated that antimicrobial resistance commonly is encountered in long-term-care facilities (LTCFs). Gram-negative uropathogens resistant to penicillin, cephalosporin, aminoglycoside, or fluoroquinolone antibiotics and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus have received the greatest attention, but other reports have described the occurrence of multiply-resistant strains of Haemophilus influenzae and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in this setting. Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria may enter LTCFs with colonized patients transferred from the hospital, or they may arise in the facility as a result of mutation or gene transfer. Once present, resistant strains tend to persist and become endemic. Rapid dissemination also has been documented in some facilities. Person-to-person transmission via the hands of healthcare workers appears to be the most important means of spread. The LTCF patients most commonly affected are those with serious underlying disease, poor functional status, wounds such as pressure sores, invasive devices such as urinary catheters, and prior antimicrobial therapy. The presence of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in LTCFs has serious consequences not only for residents but also for LTCFs and hospitals. Experience with control strategies for antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in LTCFs is limited; however, strategies used in hospitals often are inapplicable. Six recommendations for controlling antimicrobial resistance in LTCFs are offered, and four priorities for future research are identified.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / organization & administration
  • Long-Term Care
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology