In one facility, 59% of its residents tested positive for a bacterial infection. Yes, you read that right, more than half of the residents in a nursing home had an infection. A "significant presence" of multidrug-resistant bacteria, like E. coli, has been discovered among a quarter of nursing home residents, says a new study conducted by researchers at the Columbia University School of Nursing.
One would think that a nursing home would be a healthy environment for the elderly to stay safe from drug-resistant bacteria in. Clearly, this is not the case. What is wrong here then? There is a significant lack of an infection prevention program in place. With an infection prevention program in place, these numbers would not be so high.
Linda Greene, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control. "Understanding the dynamics and cause of MDR-GNB (multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria) transmission is crucial to identifying effective infection control strategies specific to these settings," she said.
Where do some of the problems begin with the health of nursing home residents? Some items you can control in nursing homes and others, you cannot.
Generally, nursing home residents are older and they have weakened immune systems. To help keep residents healthy, good hand hygiene should be practiced, as well as making sure that everyone is getting enough rest. Sleep is an important factor because their bodies need adequate rest to stay healthy and strong.
Some other factors mentioned in this study included co-morbid chronic diseases, recurrent admission, frequent interaction with healthcare workers, decreased functional status, advanced dementia, and fecal incontinence. Another factor, which on many occasions which cannot be controlled or predicted is the fact that many residents are there for the long-term and will not return home to an independent lifestyle.
Frequent transfers from nursing homes to acute care contribute to the inﬂux of pathogens into hospital settings, noted the study authors in the American Journal of Infection Control. Residents can bring these pathogens from one environment to the next, spreading the infection from its origin point.
The study by New York’s Columbia University School of Nursing acknowledged that the prevention and management of multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria in nursing homes were “complicated” due to challenges common to such settings, such as understaffing, fewer resources, insufficient training and inadequate surveillance.
Concerns need to be and should be risen when it concerns nursing homes. The elderly are very susceptible to infections and with weakened immune systems, they can be harder to fight off.
If your nursing home is in need of infection control or prevention products, feel free to contact us now.