presented by Shelley Bhola RN-BC
The role of the Infection Preventionist (IP) in the long-term care setting is not yet defined. However, what has been defined needs to be included in an active infection prevention program. Understanding what facilities must do to comply with F880 will underscore the importance this position will have as part of the interdisciplinary team. As long-term care moves forward in the area of infection prevention, the industry will need the support of a qualified, knowledgeable advocate to bring infection prevention to life.
Ms. Bhola has over 25 years’ experience in clinical management in the long-term care and assisted living market. Her previous roles include: Director of Nursing, Regional Consultant, Case Manager for managed care in the community and public health, MDS coordinator, staff educator, infection control, regulatory crisis management and leadership training. She is board certified in gerontology and received her Master’s of Science in Nursing with emphasis on Nurse Educator. She received her education on Infection Control and Prevention from Region’s hospital in MN and is currently studying to sit for the CIC exam.
F880 states that “facilities must establish an infection prevention and control program that at a minimum includes, a system for preventing, identifying, reporting, investigating, and controlling infections and communicable diseases for all residents, staff, volunteers, visitors, and other individuals providing services under a contractual arrangement based upon facility assessment and that follows national standards.” This chapter will focus on the key elements that will drive your success as an Infection Preventionist.
The greatest change to F880 is in the title. We went from Infection Control and Prevention to Infection Prevention and Control. Without surveillance, one cannot prevent the transmission of infectious illness from one person to another. Problem solving is part of everyone’s role in healthcare. When a problem arises, two questions come to mind: was there a failure in the process, and what was the outcome? This chapter explains why answering those questions will help you prevent the transmission of infections.
A common misperception of nurses is that we work in a silo, when indeed we are an integral part of a team in which knowledge and skill is shared. Although nursing is a central figure in all care facilities, nurses are just a small fraction of people who have daily contact with our residents. Anyone who has contact with our residents and staff has the potential to transmit illness. Understand the impact every department, as well as staff and visitors, have on our facility and how you can manage it. Spend a day in the life of an IP.
You spend your days tracking numbers and illnesses. You advocate for your residents’ well-being. You manage to convince an ailing staff member to stay home and get better before returning to work. What do you do with the mounds of information you collect on a daily basis? Learn what the Quality Assurance Committee wants to hear from you and how you can benefit from the committee’s audience.