APIC and Argentum Offer New Courses for Infection Control in Assisted Living

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Assisted living facilities face distinct challenges when it comes to infection prevention and control due to their unique nature.

APIC Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (Used with Permission)

APIC Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (Used with Permission)

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and Argentum, the leading association for senior living communities, have created a course to educate frontline healthcare professionals in infection prevention and control (IPC) in assisted living communities. The Infection Prevention and Control Essentials for Assisted Living course consists of 4 modules.

The first module covers infection prevention and control basics, including hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, respiratory etiquette, sharps safety, environmental topics, cleaning and disinfection, and food safety. The second module focuses on transmission-based precautions and covers various infections and conditions in the assisted living environment. The third module highlights special care considerations and the increased infection risk for residents in these communities. Finally, the fourth module provides the necessary elements to establish and lead a robust infection prevention and control program in the assisted living community.

“What it is, is the risks…and basic core principles of infection prevention and control. So, hand hygiene, general hygiene clean hands, clothes, and equipment contain drainage,” Deb Burdsall, PhD, RN-BC, CIC, FAPIC, one of the contributors to the course, told Infection Control Today® (ICT®) in a telephone interview. “If a person you know has issues with continence or with a wound, it's being cared for to make sure that it stays covered and clean, those really basic things, respiratory protection, when it comes to our respiratory hygiene, I'll call it that in, in congregate in assisted living, where you have you've got somebody that has a cold, having the staff be able to identify that IT staff know what to do with a person it's very community-based in that case, but people need to stay home if they're sick, and people need to be aware, you have to have somebody that's paying attention to who's got what, when; it's those basic epidemiology things do you have illnesses, or something that's happening that's associated by person, place and time? If you do, somebody needs to be paying attention to it. It's like any other congregate care setting, it's those core principles of infection prevention and control. That are that are critical.”

ICT asked Burdsall if there was anything specific that she wanted IPs to know from the course.

“They have to understand the unique nature of assisted living. And they have to understand the challenges, and that was some of the things that were related to infection prevention and control in a social model of a community,” Burdsall said. “Engaging the residents, engaging the families, in it because they also have to take in [precautions] the same way they would in their own home. They have to take a larger piece of infection prevention and control…notifying people when they're not feeling good. Paying attention to their own condition and letting people know. They have to take a much more active role. And that's part of what we try to put forward in the course, as well.”

Burdsall highly recommends the course for anyone in the medical field. “It's a very well-designed course. You can talk about standard precautions and what they call them as ‘conditions of concern.’ Are people getting sick, and is it related to person, place, and time, who is paying attention to the potential for infectious disease [and for] them getting an infection to make sure that they can stay in assisted living, and they don't have to transfer to a higher level of care? Early intervention is really being aware of what's happening with the residents.”

Gain access to the courses via the Argentum or APIC website.

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