Nursing Homes Have Infection Control Issues

This May, the American Journal of Infection Control published a study that finds 15% of American nursing homes are cited each year for infection control violations—or “deficiency citations” as they are known.

Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health analyzed deficiency citation reports originally collected for the purpose of Medicare/Medicaid certification between 2000 and 2007, and found a connection between low staffing levels and the infection control deficiency citations.  The researchers suggest that low staffing levels may cause caregivers hurry with patients and “skimp on infection control measures, such as hand hygiene.”

Nursing home patients are vulnerable, and infections are preventable.  Unfortunately, “Infections are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in nursing homes, responsible for nearly 400,000 deaths per year.” (Elsevier Health Sciences 5/3/11)