Closeup image of gloved hands spraying surface with disinfectant for infection control
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Long-term care facilities need to pay attention to the latest research on cleaning and disinfection in order to prevent residents from being infected with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) as well as common viruses. And if they do, the payoffs can go beyond good health, a recent article states.

Even though nursing homes are more familiar with viruses such as COVID-19 and the flu, studies still show that only about half of high-touch surfaces (in hospitals) are cleaned properly, according to an article in April 19 article in Infection Control Today. This can increase health care-associated infections (HAIs) that affect hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Not only can infections be a threat to people living at the facilities as well as workers. Infections can affect the bottom line of a nursing home. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program, which penalizes poor infection control measures against HAIs, was reinstated in 2022. Getting a fine for poor infection prevention and infection control practices can actually cost healthcare facilities extra money.

The author of the April 19 article highlighted three studies that showed adhering to cleaning standards reduced vancomycin-resistant enterococci, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridioides difficile infections by about half. Total compliance wasn’t needed to get those results, the author pointed out. “Improvements that boosted compliance rates to approximately 80% or better were enough to make a difference,” the author wrote.

“However, fast, meaningful improvement must also be paired with effective communication with the public and staff to ease their concerns. Health system leaders should clarify to marketing and public relations teams that infection prevention standards are a priority message for 2024,” the author added.

Consumers may care more about cleanliness after the pandemic. A study released last year found that 1 of every 2 Americans has concerns about getting sick when going into a hospital. Of those polled, more than 75% said a clean space is a factor when choosing a hospital or medical facility.