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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Infection prevention issues in long-term care

Lindsay E Nicolle
Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 2014, 27 (4): 363-9
24921424

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Infections and antimicrobial use are common in residents of long-term care facilities. This review discusses recent articles that address infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship in these facilities.

RECENT FINDINGS: National surveys confirm the continuing high prevalence of infections in residents of long-term care facilities, with the greatest risk for patients with the highest acuity and greatest functional disability. Long-term acute care facilities are a unique environment where residents are characterized by high levels of indwelling device use and antimicrobial-resistant organisms. The major determinant of antimicrobial resistance in long-term care facilities is antimicrobial use. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has proposed revised evidence-based definitions for surveillance of infections on the basis of the original McGeer criteria. Consensus national performance standards for infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship programs in long-term care facilities have been developed in a European initiative. Evidence to support the efficacy of infection control programs is limited. Antimicrobial stewardship programs may, however, be effective in reducing inappropriate antimicrobial use.

SUMMARY: The extent to which endemic infections or antimicrobial resistance in long-term care facilities can be prevented remains unclear. Efforts to limit infections in these facilities should focus on outbreak prevention and standard procedures for environmental cleaning, food preparation, and hand hygiene, together with optimal resident medical care. Antimicrobial stewardship programs should be implemented.

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