The future of skilled nursing lies in infection control practices. It’s no secret that nursing homes faced major infection control issues during the pandemic; nursing home residents accounted for 1 in 5 covid-related deaths while only making up less than one percent of the population. Instead of support and relief during this stressful time, nurses were faced with ever-changing regulations and punitive measures. During the first two years of the pandemic, 80% of nurses experienced PPE shortages, and nearly 2 in 3 felt unsafe when reusing PPE as recommended by their facilities. In 2021, only 30% of the nursing homes in the United States had alcohol-based hand rub outside the resident’s rooms. Infection prevention and control are essential to this industry and will save countless lives when built into the fundamentals of care.
Each facility is unique, and although generalized instruction is a great start to address the needs of nurses in skilled facilities, the real-world application is different expertise. In-person support allows a third party to see what’s working and what isn’t, providing practical training alongside general guidelines. Distributing new practices and guidelines in print or online is not as effective and doesn’t support caregivers in a meaningful way. Simple changes can make significant positive changes in the nursing home system.