KINGSTON, Ontario, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Infection prevention and control resources in Canadian nursing homes fall short of recommended standards, a Queen's University study shows.
Study leader Dr. Dick Zoutman, medical director of infection prevention and control at Kingston General Hospital and Providence Care, said the national survey of 488 facilities is the first comprehensive examination of these resources and programs in almost 20 years.
"It's critical that vulnerable long-term care residents be protected from largely preventable infections," Zoutman said in a statement. "More and better-trained infection control professionals are essential to providing effective infection surveillance and control programs."
The 2005 survey findings, published online in the American Journal of Infection Control, include:
-- The average number of full-time equivalent infection control professionals per 250 beds was 0.6, compared to the recommended 1.0.
-- 8 percent of infection control professionals were certified.
-- One-fifth of long-term care facilities had physicians or doctoral-level professions providing service to the infection control program.
-- 51 percent of long-term care facilities are conducting less than 80 percent of suggested control activities to prevent the spread of infections.
"Many essential infection control activities in long-term care facilities are not being performed, resulting in increased morbidity, mortality and financial expense," study co-author Doug Ford of Queen's University said.
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