VRSA Infection: Definition, Precautions & Treatment

Instructor: Sheila Arnold

I am a RN, who enjoys educating students (both old and young).

The terms related to VRSA will be defined. Since VRSA and staph infections are closely related, the current medical precautions and treatments connected to this particular infection will also be discussed in this lesson.

An Infection Strikes

Grandma Nanny hasn't been feeling well for the last two months due to a boil on her upper right thigh. Last week, she went to the hospital for removal of this boil. Two days later, Grandma developed pneumonia while in the hospital. Grandma Nanny's wound site doesn't seem to be healing. In fact, the wound seems to be oozing pus. The site appears red, hot and painful. The RN notifies the physician of Grandma Nanny's condition. The physician orders a STAT wound culture and a blood draw from the lab for this patient.

Later in the day, the lab reveals that Grandma Nanny was positive for VRSA. Immediately, the physician changes the antibiotic therapy approach (based on the lab's present findings and recommendations) for this patient. Grandma Nanny's condition begins to gradually improve. Grandma Nanny has many questions about her VRSA diagnosis. Grandma's nurse notifies the nurse educator for her unit. The nurse educator promptly comes for a visit to discuss VRSA with Grandma.

What is VRSA?

The nurse educator explained that Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is a common bacteria found on the skin surface and the nasal cavity of 30% of the population. VRSA means Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This specific bacteria can become hard to treat with antibiotics normally-prescribed by the physician as treatment. Staph infections are usually treatable and don't cause harm to most patients or individuals.

Yet, VRSA can become a problem when this resistant infection won't respond to the antibiotics normally prescribed for a staph infection. Certain medical conditions (i.e., sepsis, pneumonia, endocarditis and osteomyelitis) can produce this type of infection. This makes these individuals more vulnerable to VRSA. These medical conditions can become harmful to these individuals because VRSA can spread into the bloodstream, which can sometimes be fatal for these types of patients.

How Is VRSA Prevented?

The VRSA infection can be the result of routine surgery, indwelling catheters, mechanical ventilators, physical trauma, drug use or abuse. Also, this infection can be the result of underlying disease processes related the body systems involving the heart, lungs or bones. Thus, it is extremely important for any person coming into physical contact with this type of patient to understand proper hand hygiene.

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