2. Monitor your staff for infection control practices.
I cannot stress enough the importance of routinely observing your staff. Make sure they are following proper infection control practices consistently. The first day of a survey, staff typically do everything by the book. By the second day they tend to relax into their old habits. Make it your habit to observe your staff prior to survey. Pay attention to mishandling of soiled linens, glove use, and handwashing, in particular. If your team is routinely following proper infection control practices, you should see good survey results.
3. Beware of the “magic glove” effect.
Surveyors are always on the lookout for breaks in infection control practices. As you observe your staff, keep a close eye out for what I call the “magic glove” effect. Staff members think they can touch everything in sight because they’re wearing gloves—and they completely forget about proper handwashing. I’ve seen staff change gloves all day long without washing their hands in between. This is not a good practice. The “magic glove” effect is pervasive; it’s not just nursing. Watch for it in the kitchen and laundry as well. Above all, retrain to correct this pattern.
4. Look at transmission-based precautions.
Make sure your staff is aware that surveyors must include at least one resident with transmission-based precautions in their pool and sample in the new survey process. Staff must use dedicated or disposable personal protective equipment and follow disinfection practices for equipment, objects and surfaces that are touched frequently.
About Infection Control and the Final Rule
Under the Final Rule, homes are now responsible for not only treating infections, but also preventing them. It calls for a formal Infection Prevention and Control Program, hiring a designated Infection Prevention and Control Officer, and new antibiotic stewardship requirements. Embracing this change will only improve your business and the well-being of your residents.