Preventing infections in nursing homes: A survey of infection control practices in southeast Michigan

Background: Studies on adherence to infection control policies in nursing homes (NHs) are limited. This pilot study explores the use of various infection control practices and the role of infection control practitioners in southeast Michigan NHs. Methods: A 43-item self-administered questionnaire and explanatory cover letter were mailed to 105 licensed NHs in southeast Michigan. A second mailing was sent to the nonresponders 4 weeks later. Results: Significant variability existed in adoption of various infection control measures with respect to time spent in infection control activities (50% of facilities having a full-time infection control practitioner), definitions used in monitoring infections, and immunization rates (influenza: range, 0%-100%; mean, 73.2%; pneumococcal: range, 0%-100%; mean, 38.5%). Conclusion: Although strides have been made in infection control research in NHs, significant variations exist in implementation of infection control methods and guidelines. Future research should focus on identifying barriers to infection control in NHs. Copyright (C) 2005 by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.;