infection

Nursing homes can curb infection risk: U.S. report

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, a new assessment has found that participation in a national health collaborative that promotes evidence-based infection prevention and control (IPC) can curb the risk of infection by streamlining how IPC practices are shared among nursing home staff.

Each year, 150,000 U.S. nursing home residents will receive a urinary catheter—half of whom will develop a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). While 70 per cent of nursing home facilities report having an infection preventionist (IP) on staff,  many IPs often have limited time to advance their training on infection control.

The paper, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), reviewed the benefits and challenges of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)’s Safety Program for Long-Term Care, a national preventive program that was implemented from 2013 to 2016 and aimed at reducing CAUTI and other hospital-acquired infections.

As reported in JAMA Internal Medicine, community-based nursing homes that participated in this project lowered CAUTI rates by 54 per cent. The AHRQ project has developed a toolkit that reflects participant experiences.

“A national collaborative can empower IPs to play an active role in supporting infection-related practice changes, while instilling a more robust resident-safety culture across U.S. nursing homes,” said Sarah L. Krein, PhD, RN, the paper’s lead author and a professor at the University of Michigan’s Department of Internal Medicine. “With ample benefits and challenges identified, our research lays out how collaborative efforts, such as the AHRQ Safety Program can be strengthened, and thus more powerfully used to promote change in the nursing home setting.”

From March 2014 through September 2016, the AHRQ safety program provided more than 400 participating nursing homes with streamlined CAUTI prevention practices centered on improving safety culture, teamwork, and communication. The program used experts to train participating nursing home staff on the proper implementation of CAUTI prevention practices and safety culture tools.

Participating facilities further engaged in peer-to-peer learning through web conferences, virtual and in-person meetings, and coaching sessions. The qualitative assessment, conducted from June through July 2016, collected program feedback from eight of the 33 organizational leads, and eight nursing home facility leads.

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