Infection Control

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) can lead to significant illnesses and even death among nursing facility residents. HAI are responsible for nearly half of all transfers from nursing facilities to hospitals, leading to between 150,000 to 200,000 hospital admissions each year. When a nursing facility resident is hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of infection, the mortality rate can be as high as 40%, with pneumonia being the leading cause of death.

Older adults who reside in nursing facilities may have diminished immune responses, increasing their risk for developing infections. Other risk factors include:

  • Close quarter living;
  • Reduced responsiveness to vaccinations;
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.;
  • Degenerative diseases that require the use of prosthetic devices (e.g., joint prostheses, implantable cardiac devices); and
  • Use of invasive medical devices, such as central venous lines, urinary catheters or enteral feeding tubes

Residents with cognitive impairment may not be compliant with sanitary practices such as handwashing and basic personal hygiene, leading to an increased risk of infection.

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