Infection control in nursing homes has always been a problem. Closed doors, lack of flow of a more active lifestyle, as well as frequent illnesses of patients, makes them a hotbed for infection. Although nurses have standard practices in place to prevent the spread of disease, COVID has shown us that significant changes are still needed.
Prior to COVID, close to 400,000 nursing home residents fell prey to mortal infectious disease every year. This is already a staggering number, considering residents make up only 1% of the population. However, COVID death rates left prior percentages in the dust as 1 on 5 deaths were nursing home residents.
Nursing home staff were also at higher risk of COVID infection due to working conditions, including a lack of PPE. They felt uncomfortable with the requirements to reuse PPE when supply was at its lowest.
It is abundantly clear that nursing homes were even less prepared for such an infectious outbreak than other places. Now, in our third year since the initial outbreak, it’s obvious that infection control is going to play a major role in skilled nursing.
Nursing homes in particular, need new standard practices, greater support (including ample supply of PPE), and new training for staff. Infection control has become the top priority.