Antibiotic-resistant bacteria (English translation of 'Drager van een resistente bacterie')
You have been diagnosed with a bacterium (germ) which is less sensitive to certain antibiotics (also called ‘resistant’). Everyone carries bacteria, both on the skin as well as inside the body. Bacteria often have a beneficial function to humans. This also accounts for the resistant bacteria you carry. Usually you do not notice any effects of the bacteria and you will not be ill because of them. But sometimes bacteria, resistant or not, may cause an infection.It is important that drug resistant bacteria do not spread to other patients. Therefore, during your stay in the hospital a few measures will be taken to prevent spreading of these bacteria.
This leaflet provides you with more information. Note: the bacterium you have been diagnosed with is not the same as MRSA (the so called hospital bacterium). Therefore, this leaflet does not apply to patients diagnosed with MRSA. For more information about MRSA, please refer to the leaflet 'MRSA en de maatregelen in het ziekenhuis’.
Infections caused by bacteria can be treated with various antibiotics. It is known that bacteria may become insensitive (resistant) to some antibiotics. This means that the antibiotics that are commonly prescribed do not work for an infection with these bacteria. When resistant bacteria cause an infection, you will not become more ill than you would become when infected with bacteria that are sensitive to antibiotics. Your doctor just has a more limited number of drugs to choose from, because the bacteria are insensitive to some of them.
How do you get resistant bacteria?
Everybody can get resistant bacteria, but the risk is higher if:
- You have frequently used various types of antibiotics in the past. Using antibiotics can create resistance.
- You have been admitted to a foreign hospital, resistant bacteria are more common there.
Treatment and Precautions
No treatment with antibiotics
When resistant bacteria do not cause complaints or an infection, there is no need to treat them. This is for three reasons:
- Resistant bacteria may be controlled with different antibiotics, but the already resistant bacteria may become insensitive to these antibiotics too. Should you get an infection in future, it will be more difficult to treat.
- By using antibiotics not only the targeted bacteria but also other beneficial bacteria in your body will be temporarily eliminated. This may have unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhoea.
- It is possible to get rid of the resistant bacteria spontaneously, without a treatment with antibiotics.
Isolation Precautions in the hospital
Hospital patients have lower levels of resilience and therefore are more sensitive to infections than healthy people. Because of this it is important to prevent bacteria from spreading to other patients. This is done by following general hygienic measures, such as hand washing and cleaning of medical devices. These measures are taken during treatment of all patients.
Additional measures are needed to prevent resistant bacteria from spreading. These are the so called isolation precautions, which are needed to protect other patients, visitors and/or hospital staff. This means that on admission you will be given a single room with a private toilet and shower. When treating you, hospital staff will wear gloves, sometimes a gown, and occasionally also a nose and mouth mask. Depending on the bacteria type, safety measures may differ. Because hospital staff wears protective clothing and use handsanitiser, the bacteria cannot spread in the hospital via staff members. Staff members usually do not need to wear protective clothing when talking to you or, for example, when bringing a newspaper.
When you are a diagnosed with a resistant bacterium, it will be recorded in your patient file. The Hygiene and Infection Prevention Department will inform you and your GP in writing when this record is made in your patient file or is removed from it.
Planned examinations and treatments
Treatment and medical examinations for which you have been admitted will continue as planned, but extra safety measures will be observed. When you visit the outpatient clinic for an examination or a treatment, please report at the reception desk of the department where you have your appointment. If you have to wait you may normally do so in the waiting room. Occasionally a staff member will ask you to wait in the consulting room.
When you are nursed in isolation, you may receive visitors as usual. Pregnant women and small children can also visit you without any risk. However, your visitors must report to the nurses beforehand. When leaving your room, your visitors must wash their hands with water and soap, or use hand sanitiser. If your visitors want to visit other people in the hospital, they are requested to do so first and visit you afterwards.
What can you do to prevent spreading of bacteria?
Regular hand cleaning, particularly before eating after bathroom use, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
Some patients can get rid of the bacteria spontaneously; others may carry them with them for a longer period. When admitted to the hospital or when visiting the outpatient clinic, you will be tested regularly to find out if you still carry the bacteria. For this test a nurse will swab the mucous membrane of your anus with a cotton bud, if you prefer you may do this yourself. Sometimes urine or wound liquid will be collected too. These samples will be tested in a laboratory for the presence of the resistant bacteria.
Isolation precautions will be lifted if:
- No resistant bacteria are found in multiple tests.
- The resistant bacteria have not been found for over a year.
The Hygiene and Infection Prevention Department will assess this. You and your GP will receive a letter when isolation precautions are no longer needed. You can check your test results in mijnDiak, our online patient portal, at www.diakonessenhuis.nl. Should you want more information about the control tests you may contact the Hygiene and Infection Prevention Department.
At home no special precautions are needed. You may use health services such as home care, physiotherapy etc. without any problem. The basic hygienic measures healthcare staff apply are sufficient to prevent spreading to other patients. Also your family members do not have to take extra measures.
We realize isolation precautions and tests can be unpleasant for you. But it is the only way of giving you the best treatment and at the same time protect other patients from possible contagion with resistant bacteria. We hope you will be understanding and thank you for your cooperation.
Should you have any questions after reading this leaflet, please ask one of the nurses or your physician. If you have specific questions about the bacteria you may contact the Hygiene and Infection Prevention Department.
Hygiene and Infection Prevention Department
088 250 6440
Comments on our information
Should you find information missing or unclear, please let us know. For medical questions about your treatment please contact the ward involved by using the telephone numbers on the last page of this leaflet. Please report your comments on our information to the Communication Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bijgewerkt op: 6 april 2021