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Infection Prevention/Control

Infection prevention and control (IPC) is critical in post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) environments. These settings, which provide care to the most vulnerable in our communities, demand robust IPC measures to prevent outbreaks, reduce morbidity and mortality, and sustain a high standard of patient care.

Foundations of Effective IPC

  • Surveillance: Continual monitoring for infections helps in early detection, facilitating timely interventions and containing potential outbreaks. Instituting surveillance systems, from electronic health records to manual logging, ensures comprehensive tracking.
  • Hand Hygiene: Often hailed as the cornerstone of IPC, frequent and thorough hand washing, combined with the appropriate use of hand sanitizers, curbs the spread of infectious agents.
  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Proper usage and disposal of masks, gloves, gowns, and shields are vital, especially during procedures or when attending to patients with transmissible infections.
  • Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection: Regular cleaning with approved disinfectants of both surfaces and equipment, particularly in high-touch areas, is critical.
  • Antibiotic Stewardship: Overuse and misuse of antibiotics contribute to antibiotic resistance. A dedicated stewardship program ensures antibiotics are prescribed judiciously, maintaining their efficacy.
  • Vaccination: Regular immunizations for both staff and residents against influenza, pneumococcal disease, COVID-19, and other pertinent diseases provide a vital shield against outbreaks.
  • Isolation Protocols: Patients showing symptoms of contagious diseases should be isolated promptly. Equally essential is the staff's training in donning and doffing PPE and managing patients in isolation.
  • Training and Education: Regular IPC training sessions for staff, coupled with patient and visitor education, cultivates a culture of prevention.
  • Communication: Clear channels for reporting potential infections, updating on evolving guidelines, and sharing best practices should be established and maintained.
  • Audit and Feedback: Periodic assessments of IPC measures, followed by constructive feedback, foster continual improvement.