Infections may be transmitted in many settings, and this process is often difficult to control and prevent. Although researchers attempt to find new treatment and preventive measures, the results are not always promising as hospital-acquired infections are still associated with a high level of patient morbidity and mortality. Moreover, hospital personnel is considered to play a significant role in the dissemination of microorganisms from one patient to another. Therefore, the research of infection control in nursing homes is of particular interest to me as it provides some areas for improvement. To collect evidence, I reviewed several recent studies on that matter. The results will be reviewed in the following paragraphs.
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In their paper, Herzig et al. (2016) describe infection prevention and control programs in nursing homes. During the research, they collected data from about a thousand nursing homes throughout the country. The results revealed that more than half of the nursing homes that participated in this study do not provide personnel with infection control training (Herzig et al., 2016). Other barriers to better patient safety are described by Travers et al. (2015). They interviewed nurses from ten nursing homes and revealed that the lack of knowledge and experience, as well as excess workloads, were the main reasons for poor infection control (Travers et al., 2015).
Creating practical training courses and hiring more certified nursing assistants were suggested as the intervention strategies to the issue (Travers et al., 2015). Supporting this suggestion, the results from a nationwide survey presented in the article by Carter, Mancino, Hessels, Kelly, and Larson (2017) reveal that nurses consider themselves as the most responsible for preventing the spread of infections. However, over 30% of responders stated that additional education in this field is highly necessary.
In the qualitative research by Jackson, Lowton, and Griffiths (2014), links between nursing practices and infection prevention are identified. Twenty interviews with RNs were analyzed, and the results revealed that inadequate hygiene and misuse of medical equipment are the most common forms of safety code violations. Additionally, Mody et al. (2015) observe that the lack of experience in using indwelling devices such as catheters and wound drains increases the rate of MDROs. The researchers tested a new infection control program based on “preemptive barrier precautions” and “hand hygiene promotion” (Mody et al., 2015, p. 715). Results showed a decrease in the population of infectious organisms after the implementation of this program.
Different approaches to the problem of infection control are described in the recent literature on the topic. Most researchers regard the maintenance of sanitary conditions as the main preventive measure. Moreover, they see a lack of competence as a crucial problem. Thus, apart from such well-known measures as handwashing, application of disposable items, or sterilization of medical equipment, which are widely used by any healthcare services, personnel should also be trained to implement advanced approaches. Hence, medical staff competency should be the highest priority of new infection control programs.
Carter, E. J., Mancino, D., Hessels, A. J., Kelly, A. M., & Larson, E. L. (2017). Reported hours of infection education received positively associated with student nurses’ ability to comply with infection prevention practices: Results from a nationwide survey. Nurse education today, 53, 19.
Herzig, C. T., Stone, P. W., Castle, N., Pogorzelska-Maziarz, M., Larson, E. L., & Dick, A. W. (2016). Infection prevention and control programs in US nursing homes: Results of a national survey. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 17(1), 85-88.
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Jackson, C., Lowton, K., & Griffiths, P. (2014). Infection prevention as “a show”: A qualitative study of nurses’ infection prevention behaviours. International journal of nursing studies, 51(3), 400-408.
Mody, L., Krein, S. L., Saint, S., Min, L. C., Montoya, A., Lansing, B.,… Rye, R. A. (2015). A targeted infection prevention intervention in nursing home residents with indwelling devices: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(5), 714-723.
Travers, J., Herzig, C. T., Pogorzelska-Maziarz, M., Carter, E., Cohen, C. C., Semeraro, P. K.,… Stone, P. W. (2015). Perceived barriers to infection prevention and control for nursing home certified nursing assistants: a qualitative study. Geriatric Nursing, 36(5), 355-360.