Patients accommodated in single-bed rooms may have a reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) compared to those in multi-bed rooms. This study aimed to examine the effect of single-bed accommodation on HAIs in older patients admitted to a geriatric ward.
A retrospective cohort study of patients admitted to geriatric wards in a university hospital in Central Denmark Region linked to a move to a newly built hospital, involving all consecutively admitted patients aged 65 years and over from 15 September to 19 December 2016 and a similar cohort admitted in the same three months in 2017. We compared the incidence of HAIs in patients in single-bed accommodation to those in multi-bed accommodation using retrospective review of electronic patient records, with all infections verified microbiologically or by X-ray with onset between 48 hours after admission to 48 hours after discharge from hospital.
In total 446 patients were included. The incidence of HAIs in multi-bed accommodation was 30% compared to 20% in single-bed accommodation. The hazard ratio was 0.62 (95% Confidence Interval 0.43-0.91,  = 0.01) for single-bed accommodation. This finding remained robust after adjustment for age, sex, infection at admission, risk of sepsis, use of catheter, treatment with prednisone or methotrexate, and comorbidity index.
Accommodation in single-bed rooms appeared to reduce HAIs compared to multi-bed rooms in two geriatric wards. This finding should be considered as hypothesis-generating and be examined further using an experimental design.