When did your facility last experience an infection outbreak? How many patients did it affect? In the United States, 1 in 3 million serious infections occur in long-term care facilities – and of those, 380,000 cases lead to death each year.
It’s a serious issue that can’t be ignored. But unfortunately, not all long-term care professionals know how to best prevent and control infection outbreaks. Regular cleaning and disinfecting, the use of disposable tools and even basic hygiene, such as flushing and hand-washing, is not enough. Caretakers need to do more to best ensure their residents’ well-being.
Here are three infection prevention strategies to start using right away.
1. Record and monitor all infections
As much as you need to treat an infection, you should also be tracking every symptom and moment of intervention. This information is invaluable for better preventing similar infections in the future. It can help you identify the root cause of one patient’s infection as well as an outbreak.
But, how you record this data plays a critical role in how helpful it is. Paper files won’t get the job done. These are time-consuming to record, find and analyze. The easier, more efficient way to work is to digitally track all infection information with a tool like ABILITY InfectionWATCH™. Going digital gives you much more visibility to the infection trends affecting your organization. It simplifies how you track and treat each patient’s condition and how you prevent outbreaks from affecting all patients.
2. Strengthen early detection efforts
One of the best ways to keep an infection from spreading is to identify it early on – either when an already existing infection enters your facility, or when a new infection occurs within the facility.
Some ways to improve the early detection of infection include:
- Identify where an infection was acquired
- Identify the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and community-associated infections (CAIs)
- Track cases of antimicrobial resistance
- Record adverse drug effects
- Utilize the information of previous outbreaks to identify high-risk trends
Early detection doesn’t just mean being aware of the potential for an infection outbreak in the future. It also means learning from past outbreaks to best minimize this risk.
3. Prioritize your intervention plans
If one individual contracts an infection on Monday, and another is affected by a different, more serious infection on Tuesday, who do you need to see first on Wednesday?
Infections don’t happen exclusively. Depending on the size of your facility, it may not be that unusual to manage more than one outbreak – and many affected individuals – at a time. If you find yourself administering multiple intervention plans, you need to know how to prioritize them.
This way, there’s no question as to which patients need certain treatments and to what extent their infections should be tracked and monitored. To best prioritize your intervention plans, refer to the records you keep as symptoms arise and infections are identified. Then, continue to use these records to further enhance your infection prevention and control strategies long-term.