• Jennie Johnson

Does my nursing home follow an appropriate program for the prevention of infectious disease?

Updated: Apr 26

As the Coronavirus spreads across the globe, attention to the dangers of infectious disease in senior housing has skyrocketed. With most of the deaths in the United States concentrated in one Skilled Nursing Facility (Life Care Center of Kirkland), methods for controlling infectious disease are suddenly dominating conversation in the senior housing industry. Families understandably want to be reassured that their loved ones are taken care of in communities that have a track record of taking these precautions seriously, but where can that information be found?

Where to find information on Infection Prevention and Control Programs

All Medicare licensed Skilled Nursing Facilities are required to have an infection prevention and control program in place. Fortunately, information about whether a facility has been cited in the past for non-compliance can easily be found online through the Medicare run Nursing Home Compare website. Here, I’ll walk you through an example of how to find that information using the Kirkland Washington Life Care Center as an example.

First, you’ll need to identify the Skilled Nursing Facility through the search tool by entering the relevant state and name:

Next, click on the name of the facility you’re interested in to go to its profile.

Now, click on the Health Inspections tab and View all health inspection, complaint, and facility-reported issue details:

Once you’re in the details view, scroll until you come to the Environmental Deficiencies section. This is where you’ll find information about infection control.

If the facility you’re interested in has been cited for failure to provide and implement an infection prevention and control program, you may way to look further into the details of the citation. For that, scroll back up to the summary of the inspection, and click View Full Report.

In our example, the detail of the citation is very relevant to our concern:

What do I do with this information once I have it?

If you are choosing among skilled nursing facilities, it’s worth considering this information as a factor in your choice. It shouldn’t be the only factor, and it is not advisable to choose a facility with far worse ratings on other measures for this reason alone. You may want to call the administrator and ask about additional policies and protections that have been put in place since the citation.

If you or your loved one is already a resident of a skilled nursing facility with citations for infection prevention, don’t panic. This issue is top of mind for every community in the country, and most have stepped up efforts to mitigate disease spread as a result. You may want to call your administrator and ask about additional policies and protections that have been put in place since the citation.

Infectious diseases of all kinds are of particular danger to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, so even after the Coronavirus has passed, please remember to wash your hands!

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