Infection Control: 4 Actionable Insights from the New Survey

Medline Infection Control

Ellen Kuebrich

Chief Strategy Officer, Providigm

Published June 15, 2018

The new Long Term Care Survey Process began last November, and since then 36.8% of the homes surveyed have been cited with F880 – “Provide and Implement an infection prevention and control program.” This easily makes F880 the most frequently cited tag under the new survey. Here are four tips to help you from getting tagged.

1. Review the Investigation Pathways

Surveyors base their investigation on this document. It’s only five pages, so be sure to read it. It covers the following:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Transmission-based precautions
  • Infection prevention and control policies and procedures
  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Immunizations

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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.

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