Infection control program disparities between acute and long-term care facilities in Maryland

Brenda J Roup, Jeffrey C Roche, Margaret Pass
American Journal of Infection Control 2006, 34 (3): 122-7

BACKGROUND: In January 2003, the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) surveyed, for the first time, all acute care hospitals (ACHs), long-term care facilities (LTCFs), and specialty hospital (acute rehabilitation and behavioral health) facilities in the state to determine the current state of infection control resources and practices in Maryland. Federal health care facilities in Maryland were not surveyed.

METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was sent to all 40 ACHs, 247 LTCFs, and 20 specialty hospitals in the state. The senior infection control professional (ICP) in the facility completed the questionnaire.

RESULTS: The response rates were 85% for ACHs, 39% for LTCFs, and 95% for specialty hospitals. Data were analyzed separately for each type of facility. The ICPs in acute care reported 1.2 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) for each 200 acute care beds, whereas ICPs in LTCFs reported 0.3 FTEs per 200 LTCF beds. Ninety percent of acute care ICPs reported taking some type of basic infection control course, whereas only 3% of long-term care ICPs reported taking a basic infection control course.

CONCLUSION: In this survey of ICPs in Maryland, striking differences were noted between ACHs and LTCFs in the ratio of ICP FTEs to beds and in basic infection control educational preparation for ICPs. These findings suggest that Maryland LTCFs could benefit from basic infection control training and from regulatory actions addressing staff-to-resident ratios.

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