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Education module aims to reduce long-term care infection

Thursday August 7, 2014
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The Joint Commission announced the creation of an online educational tool designed to apply the principles of high reliability to reducing infections in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The 50-minute, e-learning tool can be viewed in one or two parts, depending on the needs of the audience, and it is free to anyone, not just Joint Commission customers, in online or CD formats, according to a news release. The learning module, “Applying High Reliability Principles to the Prevention and Control of Infections in Long-Term Care,” was partially funded through a conference grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The goal of the module is to introduce the principles of high reliability and show how they can have a significant impact on infection in long-term care settings.

High reliability solutions come from the study of industries such as commercial aviation and nuclear power that operate under hazardous conditions while maintaining exemplary safety records. Adapting and applying the lessons from these industries offers the promise of enabling healthcare organizations to reach levels of quality and safety that are comparable to those of the best high reliability organizations, according to the release.

The new learning module connects these principles to typical situations in long-term care and includes examples, quizzes, discussion questions and other resources.

“Infections jeopardize patient safety,” Ana Pujols McKee, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer of TJC, said in the release. “They cause pain, suffering and can even lead to death. Financially, infections can lead to unnecessary expenses for residents and families and higher costs to organizations as well as third-party payers. The bottom line is that residents, their families and staff expect care to be safe. This new education module can help long-term care organizations in their journey to achieve zero harm.”

An estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million infections occur in long-term care facilities each year, according to the release. With more than 1.5 million people living in 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S., estimates suggest infections could result in as many as 380,000 deaths among those residents each year. The nursing home population is expected to increase to about 5.3 million people by 2030, according to the release.

“Healthcare-associated infections are a critical problem facing the health care system,” sJames Cleeman, MD, director of AHRQ’s healthcare-associated infections program, said in the release. “This important learning module will help staff in long-term care facilities prevent infections and provide the safest care possible for patients.”

The module is recommended for all staff levels of a long-term care facility, from the environmental services staff to the administrator, so the principles can be put into place throughout the entire organization.

For more, go to www.jointcommission.org/HRipcLTC.aspx.


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