• methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus;
  • experience;
  • contagion;
  • infectious;
  • transmission;
  • infection control and source isolation

Scand J Caring Sci; 2010; 24; 101–107

Patients’ experiences of being infected with MRSA at a hospital and subsequently source isolated

Background:  Patients infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) during a large outbreak of E-MRSA 16 between 1997 and 2001 at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sweden, were moved from their speciality ward to the Clinic of Infectious Diseases for care in source isolation as long as the patient needed hospital care.

Aim:  To get knowledge regarding patients’ experiences who contracted MRSA at the hospital and subsequently source isolated at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases.

Method:  The interviews were designed according to qualitative research. Six patients, aged 35–76 years, who contracted MRSA at Sahlgrenska hospital and subsequently source isolated for at least 1 week were interviewed. The interviews were tape-recorded and an inter-subjective analysis was accomplished.

Findings:  The study found that the patients felt violated for having contracted MRSA at the hospital and the isolation was described as traumatic, albeit accepted because they took responsibility for not spreading MRSA. The patients felt that they did not receive rehabilitation on the same conditions as other patients and lacked information about MRSA. They felt vulnerable due to negative reactions from the nursing staff, family members and other patient′s surroundings.

Conclusion:  Patients who contract MRSA need information about what the MRSA contagion involves. There is a great need for an elevated knowledge of MRSA among staff members. An increased awareness of how the contagion spreads will allay fears of MRSA among staff and patients. The source isolation should be as short as possible to minimise the feeling of confinement.