Keeping nursing homes healthy is no small feat. Given the age and medical histories of the residents living there, infections that inconvenience most populations (like the flu) can prove deadly in a nursing home. Before COVID-19, 380,000 nursing home residents died annually from infections. The pandemic put a spotlight on the issue when 1 in 5 COVID-related deaths took place in nursing homes.
Infection control is an important standard to which all nursing homes are held, yet not every facility meets it. 40% of nursing homes were cited for poor infection control practices, making this deficiency the most commonly cited one on state surveys. In recent years, coronavirus has joined urinary tract infections, influenza, and skin infections in their rampant run through nursing homes. Nursing homes are in dire straits; 300 closed during the pandemic and 400 more sit on the brink of shutdown.
The key to stopping infections is staff. On top of their other responsibilities, nurses are in charge of keeping nursing homes sanitary. It’s a hard job; 2 years into the pandemic, and 7 in 10 nurses report high levels of stress and frustration. Many are exhausted and overwhelmed, driving thousands out of the profession entirely.