State initiative cuts nursing home infection rates: report

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Infection rates have improved in Pennsylvania nursing homes, the result of a program targeted at healthcare-acquired infections, a new report reveals.

In 2010, long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania reported declining infection rates in all five areas of care, including dementia units, mixed units, nursing units, skilled nursing/short-term rehabilitation units and ventilator-dependent units, according to the 2011 Patient Safety Authority annual report.

Additionally, nursing homes — which have been required to report HAIs to the Authority since 2010 — reported a reduction in urinary tract infections by 14% in residents without a catheter and 15% less in residents with catheters. There were 18% fewer skin and soft-tissue infection reports compared to 2009 data, according to the report.

Under the Pennsylvania program, the Patient Safety Authority assigns each liaison between 65 and 100 healthcare facilities, which they can visit regularly and provide infection prevention resources. Since working with liaisons, many nursing homes have implemented mandatory vaccination programs, which have helped lower infection rates, according to the report.    

Click here to read the full report.