Care that is centered around activities of daily living is a major key to helping combat the most common infections seen in nursing homes. 

That’s according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which last week released a toolkit aimed at helping direct-care staff prevent urinary tract infections, pneumonia and soft tissue and skin infections. The kit’s clinical best practices interventions include an observation guide, a customizing care tool and a suspected infection investigation tool. 

More than one-fourth (26%) of adverse events in nursing homes are related to infections, and many are preventable, the agency said. There is also a direct link between the quality of ADL care and the number of infections that occur in the mouth, skin and urinary systems, it added.

“One of the best ways to reduce preventable adverse events is to empower nurse aides in their roles as the first line of defense against infection,” the authors wrote.

The Head to Toe Infection Prevention Toolkit is a result of CMS’ work with its Breakthrough Communities, a collaboration with nursing home representatives that called for ready-to-use, practical tools that do not require major changes to workflow, the agency reported Tuesday.

The downloadable toolkit can be accessed on this CMS page.