Infectious Diseases such as C-Diff, MRSA, VRE, Staph and others.
Nursing homes have to take reasonable measures to prevent residents from acquiring infectious diseases such as Staph, C-Diff, MRSA, VRE, CRE and others from other residents in the facility as well as the nursing staff. Although infectious disease is commonly found present in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living and other elder care facilities, the potential adverse effects from exposure to infectious diseases is often over looked risks for elders. Seniors and other vulnerable adults, some with compromised immune systems are susceptible to pathogens from other residents who share sources of air, food, water, and health care in a often crowded care facilities. The continual revolving traffic of family, residents, care givers, supplier and support staff are also a source for introduction of infection into the environment.
Federal law requires that “each resident must receive and the facility must provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care'”. 42 CFR 483.25. The nursing home facility must establish and maintain an infection control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary, and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of disease and infection. 42 CFR 483.65.
(a) Infection control program. The facility must establish an infection control program under which it—
(1) Investigates, controls, and prevents infections in the facility;
(2) Decides what procedures, such as isolation, should be applied to an individual resident; and
(3) Maintains a record of incidents and corrective actions related to infections.
(b) Preventing spread of infection. (1) When the infection control program determines that a resident needs isolation to prevent the spread of infection, the facility must isolate the resident.
(2) The facility must prohibit employees with a communicable disease or infected skin lesions from direct contact with residents or their food, if direct contact will transmit the disease.
(3) The facility must require staff to wash their hands after each direct resident contact for which handwashing is indicated by accepted professional practice.
(c) Linens. Personnel must handle, store, process, and transport linens so as to prevent the spread of infection.
Some Common Infectious Diseases Present in Nursing Homes:
C-Diff –Clostridium difficile Infection, (source CDC) – people getting medical care can catch serious infections called healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). While most types of HAIs are declining, one – caused by the germ C. difficile – remains at historically high levels. C. difficile causes diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year.
Those most at risk are people, especially older adults, who take antibiotics and also get medical care. MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in both healthcare and community settings continues to be a high priority for the CDC. VRE – Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci are specific types of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria that are resistant to vancomycin, the drug often used to treat infections caused by enterococci. CRE – Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are a family of germs that are difficult to treat because they have high levels of resistance to antibiotics. Staph – Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium found on the skin and in the noses of up to 25% of healthy people and animals. Staphylococcus aureus is important because it has the ability to make seven different toxins that are frequently responsible for food poisoning.
Infection Prevention and Control, from Joint Commission
- Antimicrobial Stewardship
- Environment of Care
- Hand Hygiene
- Patient Education
- Sentinel Event
- Staff Education
- Standards, National & International Patient Safety Goals
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from Staph, C-Diff, MRSA, VRE, CRE or any other infectious disease or other neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility that serves the elderly in Minnesota please contact Attorney Kenneth L. LaBore, directly please send an email to KLaBore@mnnursinghomeneglect.com, or call Ken at 612-743-9048 or call him at his direct toll free number 1-888-452-6589.