Navigation Links
Knowledge gaps, fears common among parents of children with drug-resistant bacteria

Knowledge gaps and fear some of it unjustified are common among the caregivers of children with a drug-resistant staph bacterium known as MRSA, according to the results of a small study from the Johns Hopkins Children Center. These caregivers thirst for timely, detailed and simple information, the researchers add.

The study's findings, published online in The Journal of Pediatrics, underscore the need for healthcare staff to do a better job in educating parents, while also addressing concerns and allaying fears, the investigators say.

"What these results really tell us is not how little parents know about drug-resistant infections, but how much more we, the healthcare providers, should be doing to help them understand it," says senior investigator Aaron Milstone, M.D., M.H.S., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Hopkins Children's.

Conducting bedside interviews with 100 parents and others caring for children hospitalized with new or established MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the investigators found that nearly one-fifth (18 of the 100) had never heard of MRSA. Some of the children in the study were symptom-free carriers who were hospitalized for other reasons, while others had active MRSA infections. This increasingly common antibiotic-resistant bacterium causes skin and soft-tissue infections in healthy people, but can lead to invasive, sometimes fatal, infections in seriously sick patients and in those with weak immune systems.

To prevent the spread of MRSA to other patients, Hopkins Children's in 2007 began screening all children admitted to its intensive-care units. They are then screened weekly until discharge.

In the study, 29 of the 100 caregivers said they didn't know that their child had MRSA, but only nine of these cases involved newly identified cases, meaning that 20 children had been diagnosed with MRSA during past hospitalizations, yet parents and guardians were unaware. Investigators said the caregivers expressed frustration and confusion with the delayed revelation, a finding showing the importance of promptly communicating any and all new information to parents and doing so in plain language.

Among the 71 caregivers who knew of their child's MRSA diagnosis, 63(89 percent) revealed concerns, 55 (77 percent) worried about subsequent MRSA infections, and more than half (36) worried about their child spreading MRSA to others. Widespread uncertainty existed among them about whether to share the news with the child's school, primary-care pediatrician or home nurse. Some parents said they didn't understand the difference between having an active infection and being a carrier.

Eleven of the 71 (16 percent) caregivers said their child's MRSA diagnosis would lead to social stigma, fearing isolation both by friends and at school.

To help address these fears, physicians and nurses caring for children with MRSA should ask parents repeatedly if they have lingering concerns or questions, the researchers note. And they should take extra care to relieve worries among parents about future infections in the child or the fear of their child spreading MRSA to others. This can be done by putting the risks in perspective and by giving clear, specific risk-minimizing instructions tailored to each child's situation and health status, the researchers say.

Because children with MRSA do not pose a serious risk to healthy people outside of the hospital, restricting play time with friends and schoolmates is unjustified and doing so can be psychologically damaging to a child, the researchers say.

"An old axiom in pediatric medicine says that when you treat a child, you treat the whole family, so it is up to the physicians to ensure that the family understands what MRSA is and, more importantly, what it is not," Milstone noted.

"As physicians, we often focus too much on accurate diagnosis and effective treatment and not enough on helping patients and their families make sense of the diagnosis and what it means to them," says lead investigator Arnab Sengupta, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., formerly of Hopkins and now a pediatric resident at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Indeed, parents who received such guidance reported feeling less stressed and having fewer concerns about MRSA.

As the mother of one patient put it, "The best way to destigmatize MRSA is to inform the parent and the child what MRSA is and what their exact status is. That makes life easier."

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Other investigators in the study include Trish Perl, M.D. Ms.C., and Cynthia Rand, Ph.D., both of Hopkins.

Conflict-of-interest disclosure: Aaron Milstone and Trish Perl receive grant support from Sage Products, Inc. Perl is on the advisory board and has received honorarium from Pfizer and BioMerieux, and was on the advisory panel for Theradoc, Inc., manufacturer of infection surveillance systems. She has received honorarium from 3M, a manufacturer of drug-delivery and infection-prevention systems.

The terms of these arrangements are being managed by The Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies.


Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Related medicine news :

1. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
2. Beware the Gentle Man With Unique Knowledge: The Passion and Skill of a Rising Star
3. Adritech Software Releases Website Realizer, a Website Builder to Create Websites without Any Programming Knowledge
4. New global health initiative will help bridge gap between knowledge, action
5. New UCSF Global Health Initiative Will Help Bridge Gap Between Knowledge, Action
6. Compass Knowledge Group and University of Illinois at Chicago to Co-Present at UCEA National Conference April 2010
7. Survey Exposes a Knowledge Worker Productivity Gap
8. PeriGen Knowledge Summit to Address Issues in Maternal Healthcare
9. Knowledge is power in Penn State blood pressure study
10. Lenox Hill Hospital Honored at Obstetric Care Conference: The Third Annual PeriGen Knowledge Summit
11. Projects In Knowledge Launches Free iPhone App of Living Medical Textbook Neurology: Multiple Sclerosis 2010 Edition
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... , ... November 29, 2015 , ... Khanna Vision Institute ... Board of Ophthalmology on November 25th 2015. Peer Certification by the Board is ... his specialty. Certification in Ophthalmology is first obtained after the completion of three years ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... IL (PRWEB) , ... November 29, 2015 , ... Effective ... In addition starting on Black Friday Target is offering a “Buy One ... This is a rare opportunity to purchase IguanaMed at a discounted price. ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Trying to relax on ... the COUCH BUDDY. "I conceived of this design due to personal experience with a ... users. It promotes relaxation and convenience, as well as increases support. It also makes ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the conversation at the recent 2015 American Dental Association meeting in Washington D.C. revolved ... can help protect a patient’s overall health. The talk stressed the link between periodontal ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of ... ways to treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. ... Hospital Zurich analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... addition of the  "2016 Future Horizons ... Cell Surface Testing Market: Supplier Shares, ... their offering.  --> ... the  "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research and ... the "Advanced Wound Care Market by Type (Dressings, ... End User (In-Patient Facility, Out-Patient Facility), and Geography - ... --> --> ... description, definition and forecast of the global advanced wound ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has announced ... High Viscosity Drugs" report to their offering. ... addition of the "Self Administration of High ... --> Research and Markets ( ) ... Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" report to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: