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Infections

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Nursing home residents are at increased risk of infections for many reasons. As more people enter nursing homes following hospital stays, nursing homes are providing more hands-on, complex medical care to residents, such as wound care and maintenance of indwelling devices, which can lead to increased exposure to bacteria and infection. The shared living environment of a nursing home can allow the spread of easily transmissible viral infections which cause respiratory or gastrointestinal infections among both staff and residents.

Gastrointestinal infections from Clostridium difficile (C. diff) are a major problem in US healthcare facilities. Although at one time most of these infections occurred in hospitals, now over 75% of C. diff infections are first identified outside of the hospital setting. Nursing homes are among the most common places where C. diff infections can happen.

Although reducing C. diff infections occurring among residents in a nursing home has been selected as the first focus area for performance improvement within the infection prevention goal, working on this goal will allow a nursing home to implement strategies which also reduce spread of other infections.

How does preventing and reducing C. diff benefit residents?
  • Residents have lower risk of illness and serious complications related to infections from C. diff.
  • Residents live in an environment with decreased transmission of C. diff.
  • Residents have fewer hospitalizations resulting from C. diff.
  • Residents are able to freely participate in activities within the nursing home or in the larger community.
  • Residents and families gain knowledge about prevention of C. diff and other infections.
  • Residents may have reduced exposure to unnecessary antibiotics as part of C. diff prevention efforts.
How does preventing and reducing C. diff benefit staff?
  • Staff members are more skilled and confident in care delivery related to early identification and management of infections.
  • Staff are knowledgeable about evidence-based care practices for reducing spread of C. diff and other infections.
  • Staff are able to provide continuous support to the resident and family member affected by C. diff. and other infections.
How does preventing and reducing C. diff benefit nursing homes?
  • Nursing homes promote a culture of safety and infection prevention for residents, family members, and staff.
  • Nursing homes decrease spending on isolation supplies (gowns/gloves), and environmental services that are utilized during management of C. diff cases.
  • Nursing homes save time and money by reducing the hospitalizations and readmissions related to C. diff and other infections.
  • Nursing homes will meet the national Partnership for Patients efforts and Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) requirements by performing surveillance, analyzing data and implementing interventions to reduce C. diff events.