Creative Ways to Teach Infection Prevention in Nursing Homes

All staff members in a nursing home play an important role in keeping residents safe from infections. They should know some basics about the germs (like bacteria and viruses) which cause infections. They should also know steps they can take to prevent the spread of germs when giving care to residents.

Quality Improvement Advisor Julie Clark, LPTA brought a unique approach to infection prevention training that was well received by the participants in Tennessee. Clark found that hands-on, engaging activities helped nursing home staff see the value in preventing harm and promoting safety including workplace safety regulations, national guidelines, and new requirements for long-term care settings.

Truly Hands-On Training

Photo courtesy of Glo Germ

Before the training began, Clark rubbed a gel on her hands and sprinkled powder on the pens and papers each participant would use. As the participants arrived, she stood in the doorway shaking their hands and introducing herself. Little did they know, she was “infecting” each person with pretend germs.

After Clark presented the training on infection prevention, the director of nursing walked around the room with an ultraviolet light. Everyone’s hands, pens, papers, shirts, and faces glowed showing them how quickly and easily germs can be spread. Participants that were strongly “infected” were asked to wash their hands and come back to be re-checked with the UV light.  Each person that did this had excellent results in that no germs were seen after they practiced the hand hygiene techniques taught in the training.

A Winning Approach

Another great activity Clark used to keep the participants engaged was handing out raffle tickets for door prizes. The nursing home provided a large spool of raffle tickets and items to be given away. Clark explained that anyone who asked a question, gave an answer, or made a comment would receive a ticket for the door prizes. She saw the participants become competitive and fully engaged, being motivated to listen to her presentation in order to win.

Thinking outside the box and using creativity in her training helped Clark make the information she was trying to convey more engaging.

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Get Started on Infection Prevention Training

Phase III of the new rules for Infection Prevention and Infection Control (IPIC) Programs goes into effect on November 28, 2019. The regulation states that your facility “Must have a system for preventing, identifying, reporting, investigating, and controlling infections and communicable disease for all residents, staff, volunteers, visitors, and other individuals providing services under arrangement based upon the facility assessment conducted according to §483.70 and following national standards.”

In order to help you reach compliance, atom Alliance partnered with Angela Craig, APN, MS, CCNS, an experienced ICU Clinical Nurse Specialist at Cookeville Regional Medical Center in Tennessee, to develop a two-part webinar series, “How to Prevent, Identify and Track Infections in Nursing Homes.”

Part 1: Tracking C. diff

Learn how tracking C. diff in NHSN can help with consistency and benchmarking for your IPCP. Review how to identify C. diff, how to accurately report it, and how to enter data into NHSN. Angela shares a helpful diarrhea algorithm and the Bristol Stool Scale. She also covers hand washing, antibiotic stewardship, and appropriate testing.

Part 2: Preventing UTIs

Learn how tracking UTIs in NHSN can help with consistency and benchmarking for your IPCP. Review the criteria and how to prevent these infections. Angela also discusses the McGeer Criteria and how that can be used in your facility.

Reach out to Julie Clark or Beth Hercher at atom Alliance for assistance with infection prevention and control training in your facility.