On April 2, 2020, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided updated guidance for nursing homes, after the agency’s first round of coronavirus-related facility surveys conducted the week of March 30. Even with the raised alarm of COVID-19’s known risk, 36% of U.S. long-term care facilities reviewed had staff who did not follow proper handwashing protocols.
Hand hygiene for infection prevention is an essential part of the U.S. response to the emergence of COVID-19. Nursing home staff should also adhere to Standard and Transmission-based Precautions when caring for patients with a coronavirus-related infection. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers “with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the preferred form of hand hygiene in healthcare settings, based upon greater access to hand sanitizer.”
The updated guidance also formalized actions related to screening all visitors for symptoms, ensuring buildings are actively complying with existing CMS and CDC protocols and using personal protective equipment (PPE) when interacting with residents whenever possible. The CDC provides the recommended PPE described in this Infection Control Guidance.
Hand-Washing Is More Important Than Ever to Help Fight Spread of Coronavirus Disease
CMS has a role in creating and enforcing standards for quality resident care. Recently, the federal agency made a strong correlation between the inadequate hygiene practiced by long-term care staff and increased infections among nursing home residents. Safe handwashing is a longstanding infection control measure used in health care settings and one of the first violations noted in most infection control-focused investigations. U.S. nursing home residents can too easily become infected by COVID-19 when the hands of their healthcare workers or contaminated equipment and surfaces are not adequately cleaned. Patients, such as those with underlying health conditions and the many who require breathing support, are potentially at most risk.
This is not a time for long-term care facilities to disregard infection control measures and recommendations. To review the new guidance for long-term care facilities by CMS released on April 2, 2020, visit here.
The team at Levin & Perconti is working tirelessly to advocate for nursing home residents during this time. We invite you to use our resources to protect your loved ones.
Chicago Nursing Home Attorneys for Infectious Disease-Related Injuries
If you suspect mistreatment of a nursing home resident as the cause of their illness or untimely death, please contact Levin & Perconti, one of the nation’s most recognized and respected leaders in the areas of elder abuse and nursing home negligence litigation.
Our experienced legal team represents people throughout the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois and nationwide, winning major lawsuits involving nursing home acquired infections. Please, contact us now for a FREE consultation at 312-332-2872 in Chicago, toll-free at 1-877-374-1417.