In this month’s F-TagsInReview, we will discuss Infection Control Training, F-Tag 945.
Over the past 5-10 years, infection prevention and control has been a prominent issue for senior living surveyors. However, beginning November 2019 when the new tags are enforced, a twist will be added to the mix with the requirement for facilities to have an on-staff infection preventionist, as directed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This change comes as part of the last phase of implementation of the long-term care new regulations.
An infection preventionist is an expert in methods on preventing and controlling the spread of infectious disease within a specific population, such as a senior living community.
This infection preventionist will work closely with the medical director and other members of the physician team who provide care for residents within the facility. Additionally, the infection preventionist will be expected to complete and regularly participate in the following tasks:
- Participate in Training Course
The infection preventionist will be required to participate in an in-depth training course designed to educate on infections that would affect people who live, work or visit those in a senior living facility. These certified courses are offered through many of the senior living associations, including American Healthcare Association (AHCA), National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many of the state long term care associations.
- Develop an Effective Infection Prevention Program
The identified individual will be required to develop an effective infection prevention program, identify and effectively manage common infections, educate others on the spread of infections and develop steps for infection surveillance. Key learning modules for the infection preventionist will also include recommended practices to reduce pathogen transmission, healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance.
- Connect with Employees
The infection preventionist will also be a key member of the leadership team and must be connected to the employee population. This individual will play a key role in educating the staff on infection surveillance, identification and control of infections not only connected with the residents but also with the employees. Employee occupational health will be a high priority for the infection preventionist in identifying such issues as immunizations, exposure response and assessing risk.
When a survey is completed after November 2019, records documenting infection control training that the infection preventionist participated in will be requested, along with any certifications he or she may have received. It is important to act now and assemble your plan to identify or hire an infection preventionist for your facility.
Like this article? Sign up for the LW Consulting, Inc. blog to receive updates on additional articles in our ongoing F-Tags in Review series.