WABE reported on the problem of infections in Georgia nursing homes. The article was written by Andy Miller, editor and CEO of Georgia Health News. Kaiser Health News study and analysis of federal inspection records found that 43 percent of Georgia nursing homes have been cited for infection-related problems in recent years. The KHN analysis of four years of federal inspection records shows 74 percent of nursing homes nationally have been cited for lapses in infection control — more than for any other type of health violation.
Nationwide, only one of 75 nursing homes found deficient in those four years has received a high-level citation that can result in a financial penalty, the analysis found.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has required long-term care facilities to establish better systems to prevent infections, detect outbreaks early on and limit unnecessary use of antibiotics through a stewardship program. Infections cause a quarter of the medical harm cases that Medicare beneficiaries experience in nursing homes, according to a federal report. They are among the most frequent reasons why residents are sent back to the hospital.
As average hospital stays have shortened from 7.3 days in 1980 to 4.5 days in 2012, patients who a generation ago would have recuperated in hospitals now go to nursing homes for short term rehabilitation. This increases the acuity and needs of the residents without a corresponding increase in the necessary staffing.
“You’ve got this influx of vulnerable patients, but the staffing models are still geared more to the traditional long-stay resident,” said Dr. Nimalie Stone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s medical epidemiologist for long-term care. “The kind of care is so much more complicated that facilities need to consider higher staffing.”