Infection Prevention Changes in Skilled Nursing & Long Term Care Facilities

New requirements in effect from phase II of the “megarule” require organizations to target healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in an effort to reduce the number of patient infections. For organizations, controlling these infections is critical for the well-being of patients and the financial well-being of the facility. HAIs hit long-term care providers particularly hard, costing facilities somewhere between $700 million and $2 billion annually in antimicrobial therapy and hospitalization fees.1

The new requirements encourage skilled nursing and long-term care organizations to:

Focus on Prevention, Not Just Control

Facilities are now responsible for stopping infections before they can start. Organizations can accomplish this by training staff, clinical and non-clinical alike in the principles of infection prevention and control. Evaluating staff performance and provide supportive feedback when improvements are needed. An effort like this succeeds when the compliance content is targeted and a learning management system is used to assign, track and document progress.

MedBridge Tip: Assign and track our engaging and interactive Compliance Courses through our Learning Management System to optimize and streamline your efforts.

Take an Interdisciplinary Approach

Pathogens don’t restrict themselves to the hands of caregivers. They’ll happily spread through a door knob, a clipboard full of paperwork at the front desk or a handshake from a social worker. Use a team-based approach to coordinate efforts from each department and discipline, not just nursing staff, include therapy staff, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, front desk staff, social workers and even chaplains.

MedBridge Tip: Did you know we have courses for your entire staff? Click through our library of Interdisciplinary Infection Control Courses.

Perform a Comprehensive Assessment

A facility’s infection prevention and control system is now guided by a comprehensive assessment of that facility. This assessment collects information about the types of patients the organizations serves, the services each facility provides, an infection tracking system, the roles providing care, non-clinical roles and an appropriate training system for your staff. The assessment captures every aspect of how a facility operates, so that informed decisions can be made that affect the infection prevention and control efforts in the facility as a whole.

MedBridge Tip: Our Compliance suite includes a growing selection of OSHA Courses.


Document Infections & Preventive Actions

When a healthcare-associated infection occurs, it must be recorded. A root-cause analysis should be performed and interventions or policy modifications must also then be documented. This documentation is critical for upcoming surveys to demonstrate how your organization has implemented the infection prevention and control requirements.

MedBridge Tip: Interested in other ways MedBridge can help your organization’s compliance program and documentation? Continuing your reading with these past articles:

Evaluate & Modify the Program Annually

The final component of the program is to perform an annual review of the program’s effectiveness and to make any necessary updates to the program based on that review. This is a great opportunity for your facility to review what worked, what didn’t and how it can address the gaps that were identified in the previous year.

MedBridge Tip: Track, monitor, and report on staff education progress with our Learning Management System.

Why Does This Matter & How Can MedBridge Help?

Too often regulations are placed on organizations and providers that don’t seem to make any difference to patients or residents. This isn’t one of those times. Antibiotic stewardship programs (ASP) are critical to preventing multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO). Meta-analysis indicates ASP efforts can reduce many types of multi-drug resistant infections by a third.2

The requirements of the “megarule” are extensive and CMS recognizes the impact making these changes would have on facilities, opting for a three stage rollout process over several years to reduce the disruption. The staged rollout is helpful, but even after all the policy and procedure changes there still exists a significant training element affecting an organization’s entire staff.

MedBridge wants to help you meet these requirements with our suite of compliance courses designed to cover infection prevention and control training needs across your entire organization:

  1. “AHRQ Safety Program for Long-Term Care: Preventing CAUTI and Other HAIs” (accessed 1/7/2018)
  2. Baur, B.,Gladstone BP. Effect of antibiotic stewardship on the incidence of infection [...]. Lancet Infect Dis. 2017 Sep;17(9):990-1001