Nursing Homes Solutions

Nursing Homes Look for Solutions to Reduce Infection Risk, Relieve Staff Work Burden and Improve Cost Management

COVID-19 has been a devastating experience for many nursing home administrators who still face a confounding array of problems. For anyone operating facilities with adults in congregate living for rehabilitative or long-term care, the list of challenges is long – from new challenges like COVID-19 and other infection prevention concerns; to existing ones like staff recruiting, retention, health and safety; and multiple points of revenue pressure.

A few strategies, like outsourcing medical linen laundering to a healthcare linen-only service provider, can provide relief to many of those concerns. Even so, all strategies will have to measurably prove their performance to help meet the present nursing home crisis head on.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance to nursing homes this March that included caution that, even with vaccinations on the rise and a dramatic drop in COVID-19 infections and deaths in senior congregate communities, adults in these settings remain at high risk of contracting infections or diseases from pathogens such as SARS-Co-V-2:

“Even as nursing homes resume normal practices and begin relaxing restrictions, nursing homes must sustain core IPC [infection control and prevention] practices and remain vigilant for SARS-CoV-2 infection among residents and HCP [healthcare personnel] in order to prevent spread and protect residents and HCP from severe infections, hospitalizations, and death.”1

Apart from the pandemic, the CDC previously had reported that 1 to 3 million serious infections occur in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities or assisted living facilities each year2 – an average of more than one infection per year per resident.

Reduce Infection Exposure – Solution:

Proper management of healthcare linens is a proven strategy to help reduce infection exposure.

Medical laundry is the most touched hospital supply item before it gets to the patient room, while it is in the patient room and after it leaves the patient room. To reduce risk to patients and staff, it is important to handle healthcare linens according to the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) standards – in a manner that reduces pathogens to an acceptable level that does not pose a threat to patient health.

Faultless Healthcare Linen is the only healthcare linen-only service provider in Missouri and Kansas with all four critical certifications or accreditations which assure that a facility’s linens are safe and clean – Hygienically Clean standard, HLAC, Infection Control University and TRSA Clean Green.

Solutions for Nursing Homes

Following best practices, and earning these third-party validations, is essential to eliminating medical linens as a leading vector for infection. This is especially true now when nursing home COVID-19 trend lines are inconsistent, as has been reported by news outlets across the country, such as this story out of Florida:

“It is something to be concerned about,” said Dr. Lindsay Peterson, with USF’s School of Aging Studies. “I was just on a call with some assisted living facility administrators who are terrified at the prospect of cases beginning to go up again. These variants are much more contagious, so the spread would be happening much faster.”3

Linen is considered a ‘fomite,’ meaning it is capable of carrying infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses or fungi, and can be involved in their transmission. A 2020 study published in the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine reported that SARS-CoV-2 persisted on cloth for two days.4

Nursing home staff deal with multiple challenges, including the risk of their own, or passing along, infection. One of the top culprits of staff exposure is carrying soiled linens too close to the body. Linen should always be transported away from the body, or as Faultless Healthcare Linen, an ImageFIRST Company, does, sealed and in a covered linen cart, to avoid coming in contact with personnel’s skin or uniform. A study by the American Journal of Infection Control found that almost 60 percent of healthcare staff’s uniforms contained disease-causing pathogens.5

Relieve Staff Work Burden – Solution:

A difficult job even before the pandemic, nursing home staff shortages have since escalated, according to a report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund — an arm of the nationwide U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

“Shortages of key nursing home staffers, including nurses and aides, accelerated from May to December 2020, prompting one consumer watchdog to warn that the worst of the long-term care crisis may be yet to come.”6

Lowering healthcare staff’s risk of infection for themselves and others and reducing their workload can be accomplished with outsourced healthcare laundering.

Even if staffing stabilizes, finances may not. The pandemic caused many senior living community operators to have to cope with rising costs in PPE, equipment, operations and liability. This is on top of existing competitive staff pay pressures and other funding challenges, making cost management solutions for their facility even more vital.

Improve Cost Management – Solution:

Nursing home communities must look to themselves to maximize resources for effective cost management.

Faultless Healthcare Linen’s digital usage tracking, in-service training to help bring linen management best practices to staff, and custom inventory reporting all put facilities in control of their medical laundering costs.

Working with an outsourced medical laundry service provider can reduce infection risk, relieve staff work burden and help with cost management. Faultless Healthcare Linen’s full-service, healthcare linen-only laundry program can be the answer you are looking for.

Faultless Healthcare Linen’s full-service, healthcare linen-only laundry program can be the solution you are looking for.

Call today at 800.676.2373 and let your Faultless Customer Advocate put together the right healthcare linen solution for you.

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