LTC nurses focus on infection prevention

Top-down and bottom-up approaches to facility infection control and prevention programs are an evolving force in culture and practice. During an educational session at the 2011 National Association Directors of Nursing Administration conference, Lona Mody, MD, MSc, discussed the findings of a University of Michigan study as it relates to the integration of infection control and the increasing focus on infection prevention within culture change principles.

Culture change has resulted in blended roles for personnel and this increases the risk for infection. Prevention is therefore not solely within the domain of the nursing staff anymore. For example, housekeeping needs to be aware of safe practices. The mop that cleans the bathroom cannot be used in the kitchen. The dietary staff at one particular facility, which was used as an example during the educational session, has shifted to a no-touch serving system and hand sanitizers with alcohol can no longer be used in the foodservice area.

In addition to the many health concerns, infection prevention flat out saves money, according to Patricia Stone, PhD, FAAN. To handle infection outbreaks, it costs the facility by requiring increased personnel to provide care. Revenue is lost through resident transfer and isolation and the potential for fines. Loss of reputation is also a risk.

The current focus on prevention is strong. By preventing outbreaks, residents are safer and facilities reap rewards, too. Adding a full-time infection preventionist to staff is a quality decision that protects reputation.

Topics: Clinical