If it weren’t for infections, running skilled nursing facilities would be a whole lot easier. That’s like saying without coronavirus, 2020 would have been a much better year. Both are obvious, but both very true. The unfortunate reality is that infection control is a huge part of managing any healthcare facility and one where the margin of error can literally mean life or death.
Infections are insidious little things. They’re undetectable to the eye, they can hide anywhere and in the right environments, they can multiple at lightning speed causing all kinds of problems. Think about your own facilities. Are there places where infections are likely to hide? If you walked in and looked at your facility today, could you identify trouble spots where infections could get out of control? Could you be at risk for an infection spread now and not even know it?
There’s a reason the CDC is now requiring skilled nursing facilities to have an LVN or RN serve as an Infection Preventionist (IP) on staff at least part-time. Infection and more specifically, inspection control, pose a serious threat to your patients and your business. It can feel overwhelming, but in truth, there are three specific areas where you are most at risk and two of them may surprise you.
Your 3 Biggest Threats To Controlling Infection
As we said before, infections are very good at going undetected until there’s a serious problem. With an Infection Preventionist working in your facility, the odds of unknown infections threatening your patients and staff should drop dramatically. Because your IP will have completed specialized IPC training like that provided by the CDC, they will be more acutely aware of infection warning signs and more adept at controlling them should they arise. In an infection spread, time is critical and the first step to stopping the problem is knowing there is a problem as quickly as possible.
AN UNDERTRAINED STAFF
Like any company, skilled nursing facilities are only as good as the people on the front line executing to company standards. You may have an extraordinary staff with years of experience, or you could have nurses and therapists who are just starting their careers. In either case, identifying and controlling infections may not be their primary focus. It’s not that they’re negligent. Nursing and therapy jobs when facilities are at, or near capacity can be taxing, complicated, and overwhelming. An outbreak of infection only compounds those issues leaving an undertrained staff losing valuable time because they’re not sure what to do.
LACKING A PLAN FOR AN INFECTION OUTBREAK
The one thing that can save your staff in the middle of an infection outbreak is a specific, detailed plan for how to handle one. You would be shocked to know how many facilities don’t have one. Even if your staff is undertrained regarding infection control, giving them a roadmap to manage the potential chaos of an outbreak can be the difference between containment and catastrophe. Once again, having a qualified Infection Preventionist on staff will help as part of their training includes making and training to these kinds of plans.
Century Rehabilitation Has You Covered
If you don’t yet have an Infection Preventionist on staff, now is the time to find one. Not only is it required by the CDC, but it’s also just good business. At Century Rehabilitation, we specialize in staffing and training therapists and nurses, including those who want to serve as an IP. If training someone on your staff is an option, our comprehensive training includes all areas of focus recommended by the CDC including effective methods to reduce pathogen transmission, healthcare-associated infections, and antibiotic resistance, plus a complete list of best practices for fighting infection in all areas of your facility. If you don’t have anyone on staff to train for the position, our medical staffing consultants can find a qualified IPC specialist for you.
There’s no need for infection control, or even the threat of it, to be a problem for you or your facilities. If you need assistance finding, or training staff to make your facility IPC compliant, contact our specialists at Century Rehabilitation and let us help you.