Drug Resistant Bugs Winning the War
Most epidemiologists would admit that drug resistant bugs are winning the war in the acute and post acute setting.
Nursing facilities are in the forefront of the battle where environmental services and housekeeping are constantly under pressure the defeat the enemy and eliminate the germs from their facilities. From 2008 to 2012 the number of citations under F-tag 4412 rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has doubled. Leading one to believe that infection control has not been a top priority in nursing facilities. Limited resources and staff turnover are certainly contributing factors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3 million people each year contract a serious infection while in a Nursing Facility. It is estimated that 200,ooo of them are hospitalized, while almost twice that number are believed to die as a direct result of the infection.
There are no quick fixes to this problem. Best practices can effectively reduce the infection rate if followed. Use of personal protective equipment when cleaning, disinfecting, and handling soiled materials (such as linen); hand washing between patient/resident encounters; closely following manufacturers instructions when use the chemicals; communication between staff members and shifts when an infection is identified. Daily cleaning and disinfection with accountability and monitoring are essential.
Experts in infection control all agree that consistent, comprehensive staff training and education are essential elements in effective infection control in side of nursing facilities.
Training material for facilities and the care givers can easily be found online by going to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), CMS and from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and the Association for the Healthcare Environment web sites.
Facilities should consider testing staff for competency and then documenting the results. Additional training should be provided till the staff passes the competency test. Reviews should be done quarterly so as to capture new staff due to turnover.