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LTC has new tools to monitor and prevent healthcare-acquired infections

September 19, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
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The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) has released a new tool for nursing homes and other LTC facilities to track healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). By enabling facilities to track infections, they can identify problem areas and introduce prevention protocols, while monitoring their progress in reducing infections in their facilities. Among the infections that can be tracked are C. difficile, MRSA and urinary tract infection. The NHSN tracking component also monitors staff adherence to basic infection control procedures, such as hand washing. 

In an article published this week in the SHEA journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, a panel of experts updated the infection surveillance definitions for LTC facilities, known as the McGeer Criteria, which have not been modified since 1991. Based on a review of the literature, the panel significantly changed the criteria defining urinary tract and respiratory infections. The panel also added new definitions for C. difficile and norovirus gastroenteritis.

A CDC medical epidemiologist, Nimalie Stone, MD, says in a release, “Clinicians in nursing homes cannot prevent healthcare-associated infections unless they know how and where they are occurring.

Access or enroll in the NHSN tracking component.

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