FROM THE IP'S DESK:
Empowering IPs, boosting morale during ‘The Great Resignation
Long-term care (LTC) facilities are feeling the squeeze of record-breaking staffing shortages these days. Two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by “The Great Resignation” has left so many reeling for more support in every department. But perhaps one of the hardest-hit departments or roles in LTC facilities is that of the infection preventionist (IP). Read more...
Why Quarterly COVID-19 Antibody Testing Should Be a Part of Every Senior Care Community’s Infection Surveillance Program
Science has added yet another invaluable tool in our battle to control COVID-19. As we hopefully step down from pandemic to epidemic status, we will forever have risks of COVID-19 infection, especially among our senior population. It is estimated that 355 million of us in the U.S. have either been vaccinated or contracted COVID-19 and antibodies that fight the virus have been produced. Read more...
From the medical director’s desk: A look at CRE and other resistant bacteria in LTC today
One of the biggest concerns facing long-term care (LTC) today beyond COVID is Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and the continued emergence of resistant bacterial infections in all of our populations. As a LTC medical director, reducing drug-resistant bacteria and infections in LTC facilities is my primary objective. It’s also the hallmark of a comprehensive infection prevention and control program. Read more...
Understanding Delta: COVID cases on the decline in the U.S., though variants still very much a threat
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) daily update on COVID-19 infection rates show some promising news in that it seems to demonstrate a slowing of infections across the country. While the trend indicates an overall reduction in cases, it does not come close to the lowest -- 60,568 cases --earlier this year on June 7. Read more...
Equipping Your Infection Preventionist to Effectively Manage COVID-19, its Variants and Other Communicable Diseases
With the uptick of COVID-19 and its variants -- especially the highly contagious Delta variant -- now is a great time for long-term care (LTC) leaders to ensure their facility-designated Infection Preventionists (IPs) are equipped for what lies ahead. Read more...
From the CEO's desk: AMS Infection Prevention Partners announces bipartisan, congressional caucus on infection prevention and control in long-term care
AMS Infection Prevention Partners announced some big news last week - the formation of the Infection Prevention and Control in Long-Term Care Caucus, also known as the IPC-LTC Caucus. Its charter is to create meaningful federal policies to control infections in long-term care facilities nationwide and to protect seniors. It’s a win for everyone in the long-term care community and those of us who focus on infection prevention and control. Read more...
From the medical director’s desk: Drug-resistant fungal infections on the rise
Medical directors and directors of nursing in long-term care (LTC) have long known about the threat of drug-resistant bacteria in their facilities. In fact, reducing these infections and outbreaks is a hallmark of a sound infection prevention and control program. I recently wrote about antibiotic-resistant infections, and I speak on the topic often.
There’s another threat of which we must be aware: drug-resistant fungal infections. More than 300 million people are infected with fungal diseases each year across the globe, according to estimates from the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections. Of those infected, 25 million are at risk of dying or losing their eyesight. Read more...
A look back: Where were you when you first heard COVID-19 was in your nursing home?
I don’t imagine many of us will soon forget where they were when they heard their long-term care facility had its first COVID-19 infection. How did you react? What were you most concerned about, and what were you most appreciative to have in place?
Infection prevention and control (IPC) regulations have been in place for several years. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded these regulations in 2016, and phased in updated regulations until the final ones were enacted in November 2019 – on what turned out to be the eve of the global pandemic. Read more...
The biggest threat to LTC post-COVID-19? Antibiotic resistant infections
For more than a year now, clinicians in long-term care (LTC) have been on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been a difficult, consuming battle -- one that has disproportionately impacted LTC, claiming the lives of more than 130,000 residents and more than 1,600 staff members in the U.S.
At long last, we’re collectively beginning to see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel as more and more residents and staff are vaccinated. But there are some re-infections happening across the country, so we can’t lose sight of our commitment to protect nursing facilities from COVID-19.
But as important as this fight is, there’s another one that’s perhaps as big of a threat to the LTC community - if not bigger - than COVID-19: antibiotic resistant infections. Unfortunately, we, as prescribing physicians, have been contributing to this problem for years. Even at the onset of COVID-19 - a known viral infection - many physicians were prescribing antibiotics. Read more...
CMS relaxes nursing home visitation rules; now is the time for vigilance in infection prevention and control
For the first time in what feels like ages, family and friends can once again visit loved ones inside nursing homes. In reality, it has been almost exactly one year to the day since non-emergency visits were banned in an effort to protect residents from COVID-19.
And now that nearly 3 million vaccine doses have been administered amongst the nursing home population, the doors are opening once again. All of us in long-term care are thrilled that our residents can once again see their families, knowing how hard the pandemic-induced isolation has been on them both physically and emotionally. Read more...
Virtual Rounding by AMS - the proof is in the numbers
As staffing remains one of the biggest challenges today for skilled nursing facilities, a 10-chain SNF located in the Midwest recently called upon AMS Infection Prevention Partners’ Virtual Rounding program to provide clinical backup to their infection prevention and control (IPC) program. Having an extra set of experienced clinicians round virtually on residents daily lent a level of support to their over-stretched care teams and provided an extra layer of protection to catch potential problems, helping to avoid adverse patient outcomes and potential IPC fines. Read more...
Add a clinician's expertise to your EMR data with Virtual Rounding
We can’t be everywhere at once. There’s never enough time in the day. Rounding -- especially in the long-term care community -- just isn’t what it used to be. Every nurse knows this, and these are thoughts we, as nurses, seem to all have quite often these days.
Thankfully, there are tools and technology to give us insight into our residents and patients, but there are times when it just doesn’t feel like enough. Even the best analytics platforms and algorithms can’t replace a dedicated nurse’s clinical eye -- double-checking prescriptions, looking for even the subtlest changes in a patient’s vital signs, reviewing labs and ensuring the right antibiotic was prescribed. Read more...
Infection Prevention and Control in 2021: Let’s learn from our past mistakes, be proactive
As 2021 gets underway, let’s pause to take a few moments to reflect on 2020 and all that we learned from such a difficult year, particularly as it relates to long-term care and infection prevention and control practices. Read more...
Get Prepared: Identify your Nursing Home’s Vaccination Coordinator Now
We’re all eager for the arrival of the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination -- perhaps no one more than the long-term care community. While we were all expecting it as imminent for the past few weeks, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices officially prioritized healthcare workers, as well as long-term care and skilled nursing residents and staff for vaccine distribution last week.
As early as this month, 3 million residents and 21 million staff of long-term care and skilled nursing facilities could begin receiving the vaccine, initiating a collective—but cautious---sigh of relief for those facilities desperately trying to keep the novel coronavirus out of their doors and protect their residents. At long last, the vaccine is almost here. What are next steps? Read more...
When influenza meets a pandemic: How to keep long-term residents safe and healthy as flu season approaches
We’re weeks away from embarking upon an unprecedented time in healthcare and science and we haven’t even made it through the current scenario in which we’re all living amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. continue to climb - 6 million+ and counting - we’re getting ready to be faced with yet another formidable opponent in infectious disease - influenza. Read more...
Comprehensive IPC Program Reduces Infections, Unnecessary Prescriptions at Leading Long-Term Care Facility
This case study demonstrates that with the ability to quickly and accurately identify multiple distinct pathogens (viral vs. bacterial) in nursing facility residents on a quarterly basis, as well as in symptomatic residents, and the support of a dedicated infection preventionist, along with staff education and training, long-term care facilities can drastically reduce the number of respiratory infection cases, control the spread of infectious disease, and reduce the number of unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics. Read more...
How live EHR data advances infection prevention at long-term care facilities
We recently announced several strategic partners with leaders in the skilled nursing and long-term care communities that will help us advance infection prevention and control (ICP) at facilities across the country.
We’ve chosen to work with the best in our industry - from our preferred laboratory, Coastal Dx, to PruittHealth, which has 90 locations in the southeast U.S., to Sensiva, which provides fast and accurate COVID-19 antibody testing. So naturally, when we needed access to live clinical data to bolster our infection control and prevention programs, we selected Real Time Medical Systems. Read more...
Respiratory PCR Quarterly Testing Has Two Objectives:
According to the CDC, nursing home residents experience 3 to 4 respiratory infections a year. Our program will result in the greatest possibility of identifying the possible agent and therefore prescribing the correct treatment.
The CDC also states that 50 to 70% of antibiotic use for respiratory infections are inappropriate in LTC facilities. By determining whether the infection is viral vs. bacterial using PCR technology, we have shown we can decrease antibiotic use. Read more...
Implementing Effective Infection Control Programs in Nursing Homes
All continents now have an outbreak of the Coronavirus, except Antarctica. International stock markets have wiped away $6 trillion in value due to the world threat of a pandemic. Here in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is preparing for the pending outbreak, requesting $2.5 billion to start. The American Health Care Association has issued alerts to their nursing home members--all as our first two cases have been identified in a Washington State facility this past weekend. While everyone needs to be diligent and cautious, it is even more important for our at-risk seniors and those that care for them to be on high alert. Read more...