Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Get a Head Start on Improving Infection Prevention & Control

Holly Harmon, RN, MBA, LNHA

There is a growing emphasis on infection prevention and control in nursing homes. It is seen in the proposed reform of requirements of participation, CMS/CDC infection control pilot project, release of CDC core elements of antibiotic stewardship in nursing homes and more. This is an opportune time for nursing homes to take a look at current infection prevention and control systems and processes to celebrate areas of strength and take action on opportunities for improvement.

Here are five steps to get started:

1. Review your current infection prevention and control program, ideally with a multidisciplinary team. At a minimum involve the Medical Director, Director of Nursing, Administrator and Consultant Pharmacist. As a starting point, consider the CDC Infection Control Assessment Tool used by state health departments to assess infection prevention practices.

2. Compare your current program to the proposed reform of requirements of participation, infection prevention and control related sections.

3. Be sure you are using the latest guidelines. Look to CDC as a resource.

4. Review the Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes released by CDC late last year. Listen to an AHCA member webinar from Dr. Nimalie Stone of the CDC. Consider taking action on one element at a time to improve Antibiotic Stewardship in your center.

5. Collaborate with other providers and partners such as local hospitals, state health department or others to share ideas, resources and capture opportunities for coordination.

Take action today on this national priority of improving infection prevention and control and directly impact the health and well-being of the many individuals served in your center.

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