HCAI's: A Silent Killer - June 17, 2016

"[Infection} can start in the hospital. It can start in the nursing home. It can start at home." The annual reported number of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in hospitals are documented primarily from acute and post-care settings. "We now know that as many as 300,000 people die from infections in nursing homes each year." Top health officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently acknowledged the nursing home industry has made progress in reducing HCAIs. But with continued pathogen outbreaks such as C difficile and MRSAantibiotic resistance, and transitions from short term to long term facilities these organizations have implemented three-year efforts and studies to improve infection control in nursing homes.

According to McKnight's Long-Term Care News & Assisted living article "Targeting a Secret Killer", "CMS hopes the effort will lead to better surveyor tools and recommended practices, including care transitions and antibiotic stewardship." Top health officials are most concerned with infections caused by C. difficile because they are extremely difficult to treat and cure due to antibiotic resistance. In addition to C. difficile, many other infections are also hindered by antibiotic resistance. There is a high need for antibiotic stewardship and controlling the use of antibiotics in nursing homes and long term care since approximately 75% of antibiotics in these facilities are unnecessary. 

Shari Ling, M.D., deputy chief medical center officer for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS tells McKnight's, "Improving antibiotic prescribing practices is an important part of care that's delivered in long-term care settings and nursing homes, but it is also just part of the solution. Robust infection control and prevention practices are equally important, as are identifying key professionals and infection control specialists in pharmacy areas as a part of the stewardship program."

Focusing and creating a realized effort to reduce the number of HCAIs is a "positive step" in these smaller facilities especially because infection prevention and control programs have been deficient in these organizations for the last 10 years. Yet with the limited resources and staffing these facilities have, it creates a rush or decline in infection control practices. More often than not, "the staff person responsible for infection prevention often wears multiple hats and may not have time or resources to implement a well-functioning infection prevention program." In addition, short staffing creates a hurry and can cause cross-contamination or does not allow the correct time for chemical disinfectants to be effective.

This is where UVC Cleaning Systems steps in. Our quick and easy to use products can be used by all staff members and can effectively be integrated into infection control programs. With efficacy rates of over 99.99%, our devices are an extra resource and tool to control weak areas of disinfection practices. UVC Cleaning Systems can be used in the front line of infection control in any environment to increase the safety of patients and staff.  

To read the full McKnight "Targeting a Silent Killer" article click here

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