Infection prevention efforts aren't exclusive to COVID and must be made a priority to keep vulnerable patients safe.
The public health emergency (PHE) declaration for COVID-19 ended in May, along with the waivers, flexibilities, and additional funding it enabled. While more attention is being paid to infection prevention efforts in skilled nursing facilities and now home health, there is still much work and education to be done to ensure the safety of residents and patients alike.
Here are recent HealthLeaders stories featuring conversations with Devin Jopp, CEO of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, raising awareness for the need for solid infection prevention processes.
Conversations around infection prevention increased over the course of the pandemic, but Jopp explained that it isn't exclusive to COVID. Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies alike should either have a combination of infection prevention methods in place, staff trained in infection prevention, or at least one full-time infection control specialist on staff.
Compounding the problem is that like the rest of healthcare, there aren't enough specialists to accommodate the need, nor are there many students pursuing that career pathway.
As more people prefer to receive care in their home, the home healthcare sector is experiencing substantial growth. However, according to Jopp, there are minimal infection prevention practices in place, if any.
Whether it's home health or hospital at home, the lack of oversight and difficult logistics of maintaining a clean, pathogen-free environment for patients in their own home presents a challenge and puts the patient's health at risk.
Jopp provides some recommendations on how to make infection prevention a priority throughout the healthcare continuum, as well as how to address the shortage of infection preventionists.
Jasmyne Ray is the contributing editor for revenue cycle at HealthLeaders.