Q: As a new infection preventionist at our skilled care facility, what information should I be giving the families when someone is admitted to make them more aware of their own responsibilities with infection prevention?

A: I would start out with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. There are many good links and posters there for you to print and give to the families.

Project Firstline is developed for healthcare workers. However, it has many good topics for families, such as general infection prevention.

The Clean Hands Count information is also great to review and share. It never hurts to demonstrate good hand-washing techniques and even ask the family to wash their hands for you. A little glow-in-the-dark powder goes a long way with these demonstrations. If they see how much remains on their hands after their idea of washing thoroughly, they tend to not forget that experience.

Also important is giving information on sepsis, enhanced barrier precautions and antibiotic stewardship, since it’s often the family calling a physician for an antibiotic.

RSV, COVID and the flu, along with your facility’s policies about visiting when they feel sick, masking during illness and vaccines also are important points to make when orienting new families.

Live skits and short films, and/or real life examples and situations that you or the facility have experienced can really help toward making a strong impression on the families. Perhaps create an IP toolkit for new admissions.

Above all: Keep it simple. Add posters and signs that family might see at the facility while visiting. Make them aware of the inspection process and surveyors too, as surveyors often speak to family and loved ones when on-site.

All of the topics and posters mentioned here are available at www.CDC.gov.

Sherrie Dornberger, RN, CDONA, FACDONA, is executive director of NADONA. Send her your resident care-related questions at [email protected].