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Ten steps SNFs must take for stronger infection protection and control

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) face unique challenges when it comes to infection prevention and control. The close-contact nature of SNFs and an older adult population – many with underlying medical conditions – put residents at increased risk of severe illness from infectious diseases.

Due to the elevated risk of contracting infections, SNFs need to be on alert to prevent infections and ensure the facility is as safe an environment as possible. According to the CDC, “a strong infection prevention and control (IPC) program is critical to both residents and healthcare personnel.”

While federal regulations have been in place since 2016 that require facilities to have infection control and prevention programs, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the oversight of these programs. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services  (CMS) recently instituted a rule that requires SNFs to report COVID-19 vaccination status for residents and staff.

If ever there was a time to step up your organization’s infection prevention and control to limit potential transmission routes and reduce overall risk, it’s now. Every SNF is required to have a program that investigates, controls and keeps infection from spreading.

Here are ten steps you can take to combat infectious disease, comply with regulations, and improve patient outcomes at your organization:

  1. Educate all staff on hygiene guidelines and infection protocols
  2. Monitor adherence to facility-wide infection prevention procedures
  3. Stay up to date on regulatory and reporting requirements
  4. Employ a professional infection preventionist
  5. Hold regular infection control committee meetings
  6. Designate someone to coordinate IPC program activities
  7. Incorporate infection control into your QAPI process
  8. Perform infection surveillance with ongoing analysis of the data
  9. Implement a system to streamline regulatory reporting
  10. Understand the pertinent federal tags and prepare for infection-focused surveys

Ready to take your IPC program to the next level? Inovalon can help.

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn how you can streamline and proactively manage your infection control process for better outcomes.


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About the author

Laurie Laxton, R.N., B.S.N., C.M.A.S., C.C.F.A., R.A.C.-C.T., I.P.-B.C., Q.C.P., Principal Clinical Trainer