Free, innovative infection control tools now available

Two new innovative infection control tools are now available at no cost for long-term and senior care, with the goal of sharing best practices and reducing spread.

Industry advocates recently launched an online source for collaboration, news, and resources available to staff who perform infection prevention and control (IPC) duties in long-term care facilities. The National Infection Prevention Forum is part of a collaboration between the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). It is an online hub where staff can get IPC questions answered; participate in expert-led facilitated discussions; share best practices and lessons learned; and find rapidly disseminated updates about infections in LTC from federal agencies.

All those who perform IPC functions in long-term care are eligible to sign up, regardless of their membership in AHCA or APIC.

“We’re hoping that clinicians and administration will take these tools and make sure that we’re building infection-safe communities,” said Devin Jopp, EdD, MS, CEO of APIC

To join the LTC National Infection Prevention Forum, interested parties can access a step-by-step guide here.

Another free resource is the program Infection Control Amplification in Nursing Centers (I CAN)
developed by Brown University. It’s a coaching program originally designed to strengthen nursing facility infection control practices in Connecticut during the pandemic. It is now used in facilities across the United States, the program designers said. 

Designers have refined I CAN and included a team-based approach, from team huddles and one-on-one feedback to emails, to tailor the program to each facility’s needs and constraints.

“Participants’ feedback and pilot test experiences underscore the importance of actively engaging nursing home staff as partners in designing and implementing interventions that reflect their context, workflow and needs,” wrote Rosa Baier, MPH, director of Brown’s Center for Long-Term Care Quality & Innovation, in an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA).

The program uses a network of peer coaches who observe units and shifts to foster a “see something, say something” culture. Coaches and secret shoppers within the facility are encouraged to speak up about IP precautions and share data. 

This “empowers staff throughout facilities to speak up about infection precautions … and creates audit and feedback loops that provide leaders with knowledge they can use to target their infection control efforts,” Baier said.

Nursing center leaders may adopt the free I CAN program independently. 

Learn more on the Brown University website.

To stay current on new infection control information and other challenges facing senior communities, check back regularly for updates important to older adult quality of life.