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November 22, 1985

Infection Control Practices in Minnesota Nursing Homes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, St Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, St Paul (Drs Crossley and Irvine and Ms Kaszar); and the Department of Medicine, the Medical School (Drs Crossley and Irvine), and the Departments of Neurology (Dr Loewenson) and Biometry (Dr Loewenson), the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Reprint requests to St Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, 640 Jackson St, St Paul, MN 55101 (Dr Crossley).

JAMA. 1985;254(20):2918-2921. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360200070029

Because infection is a major cause of hospitalization among nursing home residents, we assessed infection control activities and related employee health policies in Minnesota nursing homes, using a questionnaire. The majority of institutions (378/440, 85.9%) responded. We found traditional isolation techniques were widely used, but blood and urine precautions were employed in less than half of the homes. Infection surveillance tended to focus on chart review. Antibiotic utilization studies were done in 76% of homes. Procedures for urinary catheter care were often at variance with current recommendations. Employee health policies required a physical examination of a new employee in a minority of institutions. Policies required by Minnesota statute (eg, skin testing for tuberculosis and documentation of employee illness) were carried out by most institutions. Infection control policies and procedures in nursing homes should be redefined so that, where appropriate, they are more consistent with practices in acute-care hospitals.

(JAMA 1985;254:2918-2921)