Infection preventionists are calling on congress and the Biden Administration to require minimum infection prevention staffing to better protect seniors from deadly infectious diseases.
In the letter to Congress, APIC strongly recommends:
- Each nursing home should have at least one full-time infection preventionist on staff who is dedicated (meaning that infection prevention is their sole function), not the current requirement of having a staff member designated to handle infection prevention.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Surveyor workforce – the federal inspectors of the long-term care industry – should be adequately funded, and the surveyors themselves properly trained in identifying infections.
- Through proper surveys, the public will know which long-term care facilities are meeting requirements set forth by CMS.
- Current CMS surveyors lack expertise in infection prevention and control (IPC). Surveyors should be equipped with basic IPC content knowledge to ensure that facilities adhere to evidence-based practices and their own IPC plans.
- Long-term care facilities should have systems to track HAIs like hospitals.
- For too long CDC’s HAI tracking system, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), has not required surveillance of infection outbreaks in nursing homes. To adequately prevent and control infections that impact elderly Americans, long-term care facilities must be required to track, monitor, and address infections as thoroughly as hospitals.