Infection Control Breach in 15 Percent of Nursing Homes

Low staffing levels correlated with receipt of a deficiency citation for infection control

TUESDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Fifteen percent of U.S. nursing homes receive deficiency citations each year for infection control, and this may be associated with low staffing levels, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Nicholas G. Castle, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues investigated the prevalence of the deficiency citation for infection control in U.S. nursing homes. Data were collected primarily from the Online Survey, Certification, and Reporting database. Data for each nursing home were combined from 2000 to 2007, providing approximately 100,000 nursing home observations.

The investigators found that each year from 2000 to 2007, an average of 15 percent of nursing homes received a deficiency citation for infection control. In a multivariate analysis, staffing levels were significantly correlated with receipt of a citation. Low staffing levels of nurse aides, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses were correlated with receipt of a deficiency citation for infection control.

"The high number of deficiency citations for infection control problems identified in this study suggest the need for increased emphasis on these programs in nursing homes to protect vulnerable elders," the authors write.

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