Effective infection control
At the time of writing this article, America is facing a pandemic as we have never seen before. COVID-19 has been responsible for over 500,000 deaths in the United States alone. Many administrators and nursing leaders had never imagined infection control would be at the forefront of our daily planning. If you adhere to the following regulation provided by RCFL you will be sure to avoid potential issues with not just COVID-19, but many other infectious diseases:
410 IAC 16.2-5-12 Infection Control
(a) The facility must establish and maintain an infection control practice designed to provide a safe, sanitary, and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of diseases and infection.
(b) The facility must establish an infection control program that includes the following:
(1) A system that enables the facility to analyze patterns of known infectious symptoms.
(2) Provides orientation and in-service education on infection prevention and control, including universal precautions.
(3) Offering health information to residents, including, but not limited to, infection transmission and immunizations.
(4) Reporting communicable disease to public health authorities
(c) Each resident shall have a diagnostic chest x-ray completed no more than six (6) months prior to admission.
(d) Prior to admission, each resident shall be required to have a health assessment, including history of significant past or present infectious diseases and a statement that the resident shows no evidence of tuberculosis in an infectious stage as verified upon admission and yearly thereafter
(e) In addition, a tuberculin skin test shall be completed within three (3) months prior to admission or upon admission and read at forty-eight (48) to seventy-two (72) hours. The result shall be recorded in millimeters of induration with the date given, date read, and by whom administered and read.
(f) For residents who have not had a documented negative tuberculin skin test result during the preceding twelve (12) months, the baseline tuberculin skin testing should employ the two-step method. If the first step is negative, a second test should be performed within one (1) to three (3) weeks after the first test. The frequency of repeat testing will depend on the risk of infection with tuberculosis.
(g) All residents who have a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test shall be required to have a chest x-ray and other physical and laboratory examinations in order to complete a diagnosis.
(h) All skin testing for tuberculosis shall be done using the Mantoux method (5TU, PPD) administered by persons having documentation of training from a department-approved course of instruction in intradermal tuberculin skin testing, reading, and recording.
(i) Persons with a documented history of a positive tuberculin skin test, adequate treatment for the disease, or preventive therapy for infection shall be exempt from further skin testing. In lieu of a tuberculin skin test, these persons should have an annual risk assessment for the development of symptoms suggestive of tuberculosis, including, but not limited to, cough, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. If symptoms are present, the individual shall be evaluated immediately with a chest x-ray.
(j) When the infection control program determines that a resident needs isolation to prevent the spread of infection, the facility must isolate the resident only to the degree needed to isolate the infecting organism.
(k) The facility must require staff to wash their hands after each direct resident contact for which handwashing is indicated by accepted professional practice.
- (k) The facility must require staff to wash their hands after each direct resident contact for which handwashing is indicated by accepted professional practice.
One of the single biggest factors in the spreading of infection is the failure to wash hands. Ensure you have the buy in from all staff to practice effective handwashing techniques.
- (a) The facility must establish and maintain an infection control practice designed to provide a safe, sanitary, and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of diseases and infection.
Developing a written infection control policy is key to decreasing the spread of infection. When staff is trained on the policy and it is drilled into the daily practices you will be sure that it is an effective program.