Infection Control in LTCF

Infection Control in LTCF

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As healthcare providers our patients trust us to treat and prevent their illnesses. A large part of that responsibility is preventing the spread of infection and the best way to prevent it is to stop it before it starts. Let’s take a look at some of the best Infection Control methods available and how they can be used in a LTCF.

LTCFs, like all other healthcare facilities, face many IFC challenges and must take great precautions to keep their patients safe. Healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) occur in the lungs (23% of all HCAIs), urinary tract (23%), blood (6%), skin (11%) and gut.

IFC policies include decontamination after biological contaminates to prevent spreading infection from patient to patient. Bed Management software can be a great tool when it comes to decontamination as it will alert staff when the bed is no longer being used and available for cleaning. This also informs the staff that the room and medical equipment are also available for cleaning so it will be safe for the next patient.

Facilities Maintenance also plays a significant role in IFC Prevention as they maintain the area and perform preventive maintenance on HVAC and air systems to ensure they are operating to code and preventing the spreading of infections. Maintenance also ensures that the conditions of a clinical area are safe for patient return after flood, fire, sewage and water damage. Also checking for threats such as mold and asbestos during routine inspection.

Technology can be a great tool when used to monitor IFC threats. Moisture sensors and gauges, air sterilization. Information Technology can also be used to track IFC sterilizations and alert when inspections are due so nothing gets missed. Sometimes what seems to be the simplest thing gets missed and it can be the biggest offender in spreading infection. New IFC technologies includes sensors which can tell if a care giver has not properly washed their hands upon entering a new room and will discreetly alert the clinician so they may re-wash their hands and prevent spreading germs and infection to their patients. For more emerging technologies in IFC go to http://www.cadth.ca/products/environmental-scanning/health-technology-update/htupdate-issue-13/emerging-technologies-infection-control

Proper infection control is a must to ensure that we are providing safe and quality patient care and it is especially important in Long-term care facilities as the majority of LTCF residents are elderly patients and these elderly patients have an increased risk of incidence and severity with infectious diseases. The heightened vulnerability is due mainly to an age related decline in immunologic function and medications, such as steroids, which also lower immune function making their residents more susceptible to illness and disease. This makes proper IFC a must in LTCF.

~Danielle French