Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease in Assisted Living Facilities

Infectious disease outbreaks, particularly of hepatitis B, have been on the rise in assisted living since 2004, and especially since 2010. In a webinar offered by the National Center for Assisted Living and the American Assisted Living Nurses Association, an infection preventionist and health scientist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said that infection prevention increasingly is relevant in assisted living communities as more residents have complex medical needs, and injection safety practices are central to infection prevention efforts.
Some suggestions to prevent the spread of infection – develop a written infection control plan that covers hand hygiene, glove use and safe injection practices; do not use reusable fingerstick devices unless each device is dedicated to a particular resident; clean and disinfect the devices between each use; whenever possible, assign blood glucose monitoring equipment for use with one resident; if blood glucose meters must be shared among multiple residents, then clean and disinfect them after every use; wear gloves, and change them between each procedure; perform hand hygiene between each procedure and before putting on a new set of gloves; if using insulin pens to administer insulin, assign each pen to a particular resident and label it appropriately; do not carry medications or gloves, masks or other supplies in pockets; keep unused supplies and medications in a clean area away from areas that potentially could be contaminated; ensure that adequate supplies are on hand for hand hygiene and personal protection (gowns, gloves, masks); and offer hepatitis B vaccination to staff members.