A new study recently presented at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (“APIC”) that was held in Charlotte, North Carolina from June 11 to June 13, 2016, found little consistency among nursing homes in the United States regarding policies implemented to prevent urinary tract infections (“UTIs”) in nursing home residents. The study found that 5.4% of nursing home residents suffered from UTI every month, and that nursing home residents who had a catheter were four times more likely to suffer a UTI than residents who did not have a catheter (nonetheless, fewer UTIs were associated with catheter use than those that were not).
The most common infections in nursing homes in the United States are UTIs. The researchers set out to determine what policies and procedures would help lower the prevalence of UTIs in nursing homes. Because the researchers found a higher prevalence of UTIs in nursing home residents who were not catheterized, their study suggests that a larger focus should be placed on identifying practices to prevent UTIs regardless of catheter use.
The study surveyed 955 nursing homes in the United States in 2014 that had a total of 88,135 nursing home residents. The researchers then linked these nursing home residents to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ infection data to identify policies and practices in nursing homes that were associated with a lower prevalence of UTIs.
The study found the following nursing home policies were associated with a lower prevalence of UTIs:
– Nursing homes that had a policy for cleaning the urine collection bag attached to the resident’s leg were 20% less likely to have high rates of catheter-associated UTIs (44% of the nursing homes surveyed had such a policy).
– Nursing homes that had a policy of using a portable bladder ultrasound scanner to determine if all of the urine was being voided were 10% less likely to have a high rate of UTIs that were not associated with catheter use (22% of the nursing homes surveyed had such a policy).
– Nursing homes that had infection preventionists on their staff who took a national course through APIC were 20% less likely to have high rates of UTIs (only 9% of the surveyed nursing homes had such).
In the press release announcing the recent study of UTI prevention in nursing homes, APIC’s president stated, “Infection prevention in long-term care is going to become an increasingly important issue because of the aging of the U.S. population. Every day 8,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65, and by 2020 the number of older adults will outnumber the number of children younger than five. Recognizing the severity of UITs for older adults, and implementing policies in nursing homes and long-tern care facilities to prevent and effectively treat these infections, is critical.”
If you or a loved one suffered a UTI or other infection while a resident of a nursing home or assisted living facility in the United States due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, or nursing home abuse, you should promptly find a local nursing home claim lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your nursing home claim or assisted living claim for you and file a nursing home claim or assisted living claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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