The risk of infection is a top concern for US adults with a friend or family member in a long-term care facility, according to a new survey by Clorox Professional Products Company.
Long-term care facilities are both a healthcare setting and a home for elderly, often immunocompromised, residents, which means staff are challenged with keeping them healthy and minimizing the spread of infections, while also maintaining a clean, comfortable and home-like environment.
The spread of infections in long-term care facilities is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. 1.5 million infections are estimated to occur in long-term care facilities each year.
Infections can easily lead to hospitalizations that expose elderly residents with weakened immune systems to dangerous pathogens and healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). These not only impact their own health, but also have the potential to spread to fellow residents once the patient returns.
According to research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, norovirus outbreaks in particular were associated with significant concurrent increases in all-cause hospitalization and mortality in nursing homes.
Routine cleaning and disinfecting, however, plays a big role in helping maintain a healthy and comfortable environment.
"Infection prevention is extremely important, yet challenging in long-term care facilities," said Sherrie Dornberger, executive director, The National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care. "Residents live in close quarters and interact with clinical staff and often each other every day, which makes transmission of highly contagious germs like influenza, norovirus and even C. diff and MRSA quite easy.
“This can quickly lead to outbreaks and even hospitalizations. Effective staff education, cleaning protocols and having the right products on hand can make a big difference in minimizing the spread of infection."
Clorox Professional Products Company, Long-term Care, Journal of the American Medical Association