Let’s stop the spread of citations regarding infection control! In 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 skilled nursing facilities around the country have experienced an increased number of citations under F441. We also need to remember that even though F441 citations are limited to skilled nursing facilities, infection control practices are not.
As providers of care for frail elderly residents in all settings, it is our responsibility to provide care and services to prevent the spread of infection. Whether you are governed by Federal regulations, state licensure regulations or no regulations, infections are a leading cause of death in the elderly.
The interpretive guidelines for F441 can be used as a framework for establishing an effective infection control program that meets the standard of practice. The interpretive guidelines clearly outline the standard for prevention, identification, treatment, isolation, tracking and trending, surveillance, analysis and more. Any program that does not include these important components is at risk for citations and/or negative outcomes related to the spread of infection.
A comprehensive infection control program should successfully limit the “spread of infection”. This can be accomplished by having a comprehensive program that meets the standard of practice along with ongoing competency testing for staff members providing direct care. Competency testing should include observing direct care of residents with return demonstration on infection control basics including but not limited to handwashing, peri-care, catheter care, suctioning technique, etc.
Educational opportunities should be established based on outcomes related to competency testing and return demonstration. Remember, documentation of ongoing education based on identified needs will support that your program meets the standard and will help prevent the spread of infections!