Many once-waning yet still-debilitating infections are rising in numbers again, erasing some of the gains made fighting multidrug resistant organisms.
Because nursing home staff were so focused on a vertical approach toward fighting the pandemic, epidemiologists are reporting increases in infections such as MRSA and Candida auris, observed Medline Medical Science Liaison Caryn Arnold.
“Just because you aren’t looking for all those multidrug-resistant organisms we were trying to focus on prior to COVID-19 does not mean they are not there,” added Deb Burdsall, Ph.D., of Baldwin Hills Solutions, LLC.
Even maladies like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise because events such as routine testing and elective surgeries were either postponed or unavailable, said Mary Madison, top clinical consultant for LTC/senior living at Briggs Healthcare. The pandemic has hindered medication management efforts to contain similarly dangerous infections.
“In some ways, the fight against COVID-19 has diverted our attention from some very key priorities,” said Chad Worz, PharmD, CEO of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. “From an infection control perspective, things like sliding scale insulin, the use of medications that must be administered three and four times a day, and polypharmacy in general become targets to reduce the potential transmission of the virus between staff and residents.”
Meanwhile, COVID-related medication management and attendant vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and oral antivirals will continue to be prominent concerns in 2022, said Cristina Crawford, spokeswoman for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.
Going forward, access to COVID treatments across all senior living settings will be critical, noted Alan Rosenbloom, president and CEO of the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition.
Worz believes a priority coming out of the pandemic should include a renewed effort “to ensure we are balancing the non-pharmaceutical interventions with any needed medications.”