Infection Prevention and Control Programs in US Nursing Homes: Results of a National Survey



      The objectives of this study were to (1) obtain a national perspective of the current state of nursing home (NH) infection prevention and control (IPC) programs and (2) examine differences in IPC program characteristics for NHs that had and had not received an infection control deficiency citation.


      A national cross-sectional survey of randomly sampled NHs was conducted and responses were linked with Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reporting (CASPER) and NH Compare data.


      Surveys were completed and returned by 990 NHs (response rate 39%) between December 2013 and December 2014.


      The person in charge of the IPC program at each NH completed the survey.


      The survey consisted of 34 items related to respondent demographics, IPC program staffing, stability of the workforce, resources and challenges, and resident care and employee processes. Facility characteristics and infection control deficiency citations were assessed using CASPER and NH Compare data.


      Most respondents had at least 2 responsibilities in addition to those related to infection control (54%) and had no specific IPC training (61%). Although many practices and processes were consistent with infection prevention guidelines for NHs, there was wide variation in programs across the United States. Approximately 36% of responding facilities had received an infection control deficiency citation. NHs that received citations had infection control professionals with less experience (P = .01) and training (P = .02) and were less likely to provide financial resources for continuing education in infection control (P = .01).


      The findings demonstrate that a lack of adequately trained infection prevention personnel is an important area for improvement. Furthermore, there is a need to identify specific evidence-based practices to reduce infection risk in NHs.


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