What is MRSA and how do you get it?

Wash your hands. And remind your caregivers to do the same.

Everyone naturally has staphylococcus aureus on their skin as normal flora and it isn't until there is an opening on the skin (scratch, cut, etc.) that it can become a problem once it enters through the opening. The methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) bacteria has developed over the years due to overuse of antibiotics. MRSA does live on the skin of some people and does not make them ill. These people are said to be “colonized.”

What's Alaska Regional doing to protect me or my loved ones?

Alaska Regional Hospital and its parent company, HCA, take quite seriously the potential threat MRSA might pose in our community. Approximately one year ago we instituted a program whereby we screen all patients considered to be “high risk.”

These groups of patients consist of those who are admitted for open heart surgeries, open joint and back procedures, critical care admissions, neonatal intensive care babies transferred to our facility, dialysis patients, and transfers in from nursing homes or assisted living homes. These patients are screened, on admission, so we can identify if they may already have community-acquired MRSA.

What if someone tests positive?

If these high risk patients have a positive nares (nose) screen, our hospital puts them into what we call isolation precautions. This is a simple extra precaution we take to ensure others are protected. Upon entry to the room, staff and visitors put a gown on just inside the door and take it off at the doorway prior to exiting the room. We also stringently reinforce hand washing which is the number one precaution anyone can take. We have installed, just outside or inside every room in the hospital, waterless hand sanitizer dispensers. Upon a patients’ discharge, these rooms receive what is called a “terminal clean.”

Terminal cleaning of a room takes approximately an hour to conduct as all surfaces are cleaned thoroughly with appropriate cleansers and all linens and curtains are changed out.

Our hospital is extremely proud of the quality of care we provide and we encourage you to ask more questions at any time.

Additional information about MRSA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Stopping MRSA is in your hands

Contact: Director of Quality, Safety, and Performance Improvement
(907) 264-2360