For years, hospitals have been coping with the ‘superbugs’ that thrive in conditions with weakened patients, crowded conditions and a heavy reliance on antibiotics to treat problems. Now, it looks like the problem may be a new concern in nursing homes as well.
Faced with many of the same issues hospitals have, the The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are now tracking deadly healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in long term care faciliteis such as nursing homes.
The results are worrisome, with estimates showing over 2.8 million infections occurring each year. “The unsettling truth is that our best estimates of healthcare-associated infections in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, most likely understate the true problem,” said Nimalie Stone, M.D., a lead author of the guidance and a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This new tracking effort is an important first step to reduce the number of infections but as it has been for hospitals, this could be a long uphill battle for some nursing homes, while offering in home care an advantage for seniors.