Infection Prevention and Long-Term Care Facilities

Goals

Determine the insights and statistics on infection prevention programs in long-term care facilities.

Early Findings

Infection Prevention and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are one of the ten main causes of mortality in the United States.
  • An estimated one million senior citizens are residing in around 15,700 nursing homes or long-term care facilities each day.
  • These elderly tenants are specially prone to infections as a result of their compromised physiologic protection such as "skin deterioration and the application of devices like catheters, and "immunosuppression, malnutrition, dehydration, comorbidities," or other functional disability.
  • Majority of these infections are due to "multidrug-resistant organisms."
  • It is extremely challenging to address infection problems in these facilities due to several factors.
  • One factor is the social structure inside the facility where residents are encouraged to socialize and share spaces for their mental health. However, this kind of environment can raise transmission risks.
  • Also, elderly residents may not be able to communicate their condition due to their declining mental acuity. It is also difficult to determine their illnesses based on observation only as the symptoms are not similar to what younger people are normally experiencing for the same disease.
  • In addition to this, the lack of qualified personnel to handle the infection and control initiatives in these facilities is also a concern.
  • Furthermore, doctors and other health professionals may not be available to dedicate some time for these programs.
  • Infection cases in these facilities can also result in a tremendous amount of pain and suffering for their elderly residents.
  • Infections can also aggravate their conditions further.
  • Given these challenges, it is expected that infection management in these facilities are beneath the target standard.
  • Around 40% of facilities that were previously certified by the "Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)" have gotten deficiency notices each year for their substandard infection management practices.
  • These inadequate infection protocols also resulted in excessive antibiotics use in these facilities.
  • Around 40% of all drugs that were given in these facilities were antibiotics.
  • Around 47% to 79% of elderly residents in these facilities take in antibiotics at least once every twelve months.
  • Given these statistics, it became a country-wide priority for the government to improve "infection prevention, control and management, including antibiotic stewardship" in these facilities.

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