The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has identified major concerns regarding infection prevention and control (IPC) in nursing homes, which they claim have been largely overlooked. Despite numerous reports warning of infection control issues in these facilities, APIC states there’s been inadequate attention given to this area.
APIC is a nonprofit organization representing over 15,000 Infection Preventionists (IPs), healthcare professionals who aim to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). They indicate that while the CDC reports around 687,000 HAIs in acute care hospitals annually, the number jumps significantly in long-term care facilities, with estimated 1-3 million infections each year.
APIC recommends full-time dedicated IPs for nursing homes, who would develop infection prevention strategies, perform surveillance and investigations, and enforce infection control standards. They stress the importance of better resourcing this critical role, which the COVID-19 pandemic has shown to be a priority.
Further, APIC calls for adequately funded surveyors, educated in core IPC principles, to ensure nursing home inspection quality. The organization also urges regular, transparent reporting of HAIs in nursing homes, like the process in hospitals, to identify problem areas and monitor prevention efforts. They also propose that the federal government provide IPC training delivered by personnel with specialized knowledge in the field.
As safety improvements in nursing homes are considered, APIC is urging that these IPC concerns be addressed as a documented area of risk. They offer further assistance in tackling these challenges.