The CMS cites about 15% of nursing homes each year for deficiencies in infection control, according to a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control. Infections contribute to more than 380,000 deaths annually among nursing home residents, and cost estimates associated with such infections can reach as high as $2 billion.
15% of nursing homes cited for infection-control woes : study
Researchers analyzed eight years of nursing home certification data, looking for infection control, or F-Tag 441, citations. While the per-year average citation rate was 15%, that number has actually trended upward, increasing from 12.87% in 2000 to 17.31% in 2007, according to the study. Adherence to infection-control certification standards varied from state to state, the authors found, and citations correlated strongly with low staffing levels and nursing homes' for-profit status.
“Our analysis may provide some clues as to the reason for the persistent infection control problems in nursing homes,” the authors wrote in the study. “Most significantly, the issue of staffing is very prominent in our findings; that is, for all three caregivers examined (i.e., nurse aides, LPNs and RNs) low staffing levels are associated with F-Tag 441 citations. With low staffing levels, these caregivers are likely hurried and may skimp on infection-control measures, such as hand hygiene.”
The researchers stressed the need for more staff training and dissemination of guidelines from organizations such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
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