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Anthony Cirillo

CDC Releases New Tool for Tracking Infections

By November 30, 2012

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Eliminating infections, many of which are preventable, is a significant way to improve care and decrease costs. CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network provides long-term care facilities with a customized system to track infections in a streamlined and systematic way. When facilities track infections, they can identify problems and track progress toward stopping infections. On the national level, data entered into NHSN will gauge progress toward national healthcare-associated infection goals.

NHSN's long-term care component is ideal for use by: nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, chronic care facilities, and assisted living and residential care facilities.

"Clinicians in nursing homes cannot prevent healthcare-associated infections unless they know where and how they are occurring. Tracking infections within facilities is the first step toward prevention and ultimately saves lives," Nimalie Stone, M.D., lead author of the CDC's guidance, said.

Of course a great deal of infection control can be accomplished simply with hand washing.

Hand hygiene and good infection control practices in nursing homes and other care settings can go a long way in helping contain germs and disease. Deborah Leader, RN, About.com Guide for COPD offers some great tips.

  • Practice good hand hygiene which includes hand washing with soap and water and using an alcohol based hand-sanitizer in between washings.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people by staying away from congested crowds or from anyone who is sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze with a tissue. Throw the tissue away promptly and then wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs are easily transmitted through mucus membranes.
  • Stay home from work if you get sick. This helps to keep the virus from spreading to others.

Long-term care facilities can click here to enroll with the CDC for tracking purposes.

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