Nursing home providers struggled with implementing infection control plans last year, according to a review of surveyor data during 2020. 

The Joint Commission late last week identified the most challenging requirements healthcare providers, including nursing homes, struggled with during the pandemic. The commission was able to hone in on several areas of improvement for nursing homes, despite there being fewer surveys conducted in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The top two areas providers struggled with were permitting licensed, independent practitioners to provide care treatment and other services and implementing infection prevention and control plans. The Joint Commission is a highly regarded symbol of quality and safety to key stakeholders. It runs a nursing care accreditation program aimed at helping healthcare organizations achieve quality improvements by focusing on systems for improving performance and outcomes. 

Infection control has been a top area of focus for federal health officials. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services increased fines to up to $20,000 for providers who struggled with infection control deficiencies during the ongoing public health crisis.

Other challenge areas for providers included: 

  • Managing risks related to hazardous materials and waste
  • Medication storage
  • Care planning for residents and patients
  • Performing quality control checks for waived testing on procedures