Establishing an Effective Infection
Prevention and Control Program
A SNF infection prevention (IP) program includes evidence-based practices to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and provide safe, quality resident care.
What makes an effective SNF IP program?
An effective IP program must be managed by a trained infection preventionist who ensures that written infection prevention policies and procedures are adhered to by healthcare providers (HCP). Active administrative support and an engaged staff are essential to an effective IP program.
What elements should be included in a SNF IP program?
A SNF IP program includes but is not limited to:
Visible, tangible leadership support for IP
- Leadership accountable for the success of infection prevention activities
- Sufficient resources allocated so that infection prevention practice adherence is feasible
- Individual with infection prevention training assigned to manage the program is given support and authority
A written annual risk assessment
- Numbers of HAI in the facility over the past year
- Gaps in infection prevention care practices such as hand hygiene, Standard and Transmission-based precautions, environmental cleaning and disinfection
- Community rates of infectious disease such as tuberculosis (TB) and influenza
- Review local public health reports for these data
A written IP plan based on the annual risk assessment
- The role of the Infection Preventionist
- Infection prevention goals for the year
- HAI surveillance to be conducted, such as incidence of C. difficile infections (CDI), urinary tract infections (UTI), pneumonia, scabies, etc.
- How infections will be recorded and reported
- Policies and procedures to prevent transmission of infection
- How and where adherence monitoring will be performed
- How feedback will be given to HCP
IP policies and procedures based on current, evidence-based recommendations
- Standard and Transmission-based precautions
- Cleaning and disinfection of the environment and resident care equipment, including “who cleans what”
- Use of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaning agents according to manufacturer instructions
- Evidence-based methods to prevent infection for residents with invasive devices such as urinary catheters, ventilators or intravascular devices
- Vaccination for residents and HCP
- Screening and work restrictions to prevent HCP with a communicable illness from working with residents while ill or infected
Adherence monitoring and feedback
- Job-specific infection prevention training
- New hire and annual training on hand hygiene, Standard and Transmission-based precautions, bloodborne pathogen exposure, environmental cleaning, linen handling, and hazardous waste disposal
- Additional training when gaps in care practice adherence or increased infection rates noted
Patient, family, caregiver education
- Appropriate infection prevention education to patients, family members, visitors, and others included in the caregiving network
- How infections are spread
- How they can be prevented
- What signs and symptoms should prompt evaluation
- Instructional materials that address varied levels of education, language, comprehension, and cultural diversity
- Vaccines (influenza)
- Respirator fit testing
- TB testing
- Infectious disease exposure investigations
- Post-exposure management
- Infectious disease exposure risk
- Work restriction
- Latex allergies
- Compliance with CA regulation
- Element 1: Leadership commitment
- Element 2: Accountability of leader for ASP outcomes
- Element 3: Drug expertise access
- Element 4: Action to implement at lease one intervention to improve antibiotic use
- Element 5: Tracking antibiotic use practices and outcomes
- Element 6: Reporting antibiotic use to physicians, nurses and relevant staff
- Element 7: Education for clinical providers and nursing staff on rationale and goals
What makes an IP program effective throughout the facility?
An effective IP program must engage participation from multiple disciplines facility wide, including Administration, Nursing, Environmental Services, Pharmacy, Dietary, Engineering, and other ancillary departments.
What practices must all HCP follow for every care encounter?
Use Standard Precautions to care for all patients in all settings.
- Hand hygiene
- Alcohol hand rub is acceptable for hand hygiene unless hands are visible soiled, or during a C. difficile or norovirus outbreak
- Use soap and water when hands are visible soiled
- Environmental cleaning and disinfection
- Injection and medication safety
- Assess the risk of transmission in task to be performed to select appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, gowns, face masks
- Minimizing potential exposures
- Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
- Reprocessing of reusable medical equipment between each patient and when soiled
- Additional precautions needed for patients with documented or suspected diagnoses where contact with the patient, their body fluids, or their environment presents a transmission risk despite adherence to Standard Precautions
- Include the use of appropriate PPE specific to the mode of pathogen transmission:
- Contact, Droplet, and Airborne precautions
Early, prompt removal of invasive devices
- During each healthcare encounter, assess the medical necessity of any invasive device to identify the earliest opportunity for safe removal
- Vascular catheter
- Indwelling urinary catheter
- Feeding tube
- Surgical drain
What are Enhanced Standard Precautions?
Enhanced Standard precautions (AFL 19-22) (PDF) is a resident-centered and activity-based approach for preventing MDRO transmission in SNF. The use of gowns and gloves by HCP during specific care activities is based on periodic assessments of a resident's risk for being colonized and transmitting MDRO, whether or not the resident is known to be MDRO colonized or infected.
What is interfacility communication?
Interfacility communication between care facilities, such as SNF, hospitals, and clinics, provides information about a resident to inform appropriate infection prevention precautions and room placement upon arrival. SNF may use or adapt the CDPH Interfacility Infection Control Transfer Form (PDF).
What are the education requirements for the SNF Infection Preventionist, and what educational courses are available?
The SNF infection preventionist requires additional education to understand their unique function and role. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires the SNF IP to complete an infection prevention course (PDF).