February 14, 2023

Infection Control among the Elderly in Today’s Skilled Nursing Facilities


Bonnie Chustz, MSN Ed, RN, CIC, LTC-CIP

To begin, let’s review the basics of skilled nursing facilities (SNF). These are the primary locations of residence for the elderly population, who are no longer able to independently care for themselves in their home environment. Residents are often admitted to SNF following a hospitalization for an illness, an injury, or a decline in function, and they may reside in the facility for a short time of recovery while others remain indefinitely. Most SNFs are composed of semi-private rooms, so once admitted, a resident will likely share a room with another resident; one may compare this to a college dorm in its similarity. SNFs have shared dining spaces and common areas for activities and events.

The majority of SNF residents are elderly people with aging bodies and systems, including their immune systems. Infections are not caused by aging, but as the body ages, all systems fail to function as well as they once did. Residents are admitted with a list of diagnoses and an accompanying list of medications they must regularly take as prescribed. The effects of disease processes, coupled with the effects of medications and the effects of aging, can predispose residents to increased infection susceptibility.

As seen in Medical Tech Outlook

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