Infection Control in Long Term Healthcare Facilities

There was a great article in the Infection Control Today online issue pertaining to proper environmental cleaning and disinfecting in long term care facilities. National surveys confirm the continuing high prevalence of infections in residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Infections have proven to be one of long-term care’s most troubling problems; a significant source of illness and death, many consequences of infections are extensive and costly.

Proper environmental cleaning in a long-term care facility can reap multiple benefits — it can help prevent infections, but it also can help ensure fewer environmental deficits during state and federal inspections. A recent Clorox Professional Products survey found that 71% of U.S. adults with a friend or loved one in long-term care facility found cleanliness as a top factor in selecting a facility. One in five worried about an infection because a facility didn’t smell clean.

Inadequate terminal cleaning puts the next resident at risk of acquiring the same pathogens a previous patient may have been battling. Some of these pathogens can remain active and stable in the environment for weeks and even months. Every turnover effort should begin with manual cleaning, but experts say not everyone knows the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. In order for many disinfectants to work it is imperative that the EVS personnel are trained and have knowledge in how to properly dilute, apply and give the appropriate dwell time for the cleaner to be effective. Not all cleaners have the effectiveness on all types of surfaces, education on disinfectants are essential to be able to control infectious organisms.

The article also touches on the fact that research found a link that improved cleaning practices in LTCFs may significantly reduce the Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) burden. They found that MRSA’s environmental contamination was associated with greater differences between MRSA point and admission prevalence, less-frequent common room cleaning, and less time spent cleaning per room, which suggests that modifying cleaning practices may reduce MRSA’s environmental contamination and burden in nursing homes.

The article, (Pyrek, 2014) “Environmental Cleaning and Disinfecting in The Long-Term Care Facility” is available on the Infection Control Today’s website. It is a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone in the industry.

Link: Infection Control Today