More than 4 million Americans are admitted to or reside in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities each year. While data about infections in LTC facilities is limited, it’s estimated that:
- 1 million to 3 million serious infections occur every year in these facilities. They include urinary tract infections, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and others.
- Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death; as many as 380,000 people die of infections in LTC facilities every year.
LTC facilities have been treating and preventing outbreaks for decades and have accelerated best practices and collaboration with healthcare professionals to help prevent COVID-19.
TAKING COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS IN LONG-TERM CARE
Provista recently surveyed its LTC members to ask what modifications they’re making to allow for better staff, resident and guest safety. Members said:
- Elimination of common gathering areas
- Entrance procedures/screening
- Changes to the reception area
The CDC has been issuing recommendations for preventing and handling COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started. Every state has its own subset of regulations that incorporate, and in some cases supersede, CDC recommendations. States are controlling how and when LTC can reopen to visitors and vendors.
This presents a real challenge for LTC owner groups with large footprints because they’re tasked with establishing unique protocols for specific locations. What’s effective for facilities in one state may need to be changed to meet requirements in another state. Operators must manage best practices by location and can benefit by sharing information with others in the industry.
Representatives from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Health and Human Services and LTC associations were posting new findings and regulations daily at first, and have being doing this weekly since March to help operators exchange information and share updates. Peer best practices and successes are helping other LTC facilities implement effective processes.