Long-term care facilities and infection prevention often clash. One reason being that residents are much more mobile than patients in a hospital, and also because there are many more common or shared spaces.
Since LTC patients are often alternating between the facility and a hospital, the likelihood of bringing a multidrug-resistant organism with them is high. With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services making infection control an important part of its survey process, providers must tune in to study best practices.
One study, “Decontamination with Ultraviolet Radiation to Prevent Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection in 2 Roommates in a Long-Term Care Facility,” illustrates the ease with which patients in a LTC facility can be infected and re-infected with Clostridium difficile or another MDRO in an environment where spaces are shared. In the study, one patient was transferred to a LTC facility where he developed C. diff and was treated. He was later assigned a roommate with a previous C. diff infection. The patient then developed a recurrent C. diff infection after transfer to the LTC facility. The second patient returned to acute care and then back to the facility after being treated for C.diff. Two days later, the first patient also developed a recurrent C. diff infection.
Providers should evaluate their disinfection processes, especially for those with contagious infectious diseases. Using UVC disinfection technology can reduce the contamination left behind by traditional manual cleaning. While the LTC setting can present different challenges compared to the hospital setting and because patients often come and go from their room more frequently than in the inpatient setting, there may be more opportunities to utilize a UVC device on a regular basis.
Circling back to the study mentioned above, the study researchers concluded that, “Routine use of UV radiation devices to decrease the environmental burden of pathogens is a feasible addition to current infection control and housekeeping measures and may ultimately help to reduce rates of CDI among patients in hospitals and LTCFs.”
Alice Brewer is the clinical affairs director for Tru-D Smart. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.