Recent cases of monkey pox reported in the US shows us that emergent diseases will always be a challenge. Prepare for the next virus.
Infection prevention has become more of a priority item in recent years because of COVID-19, and the recent cases of monkey pox reported in the US shows us that emergent diseases will always be a challenge. We continue to learn first-hand the importance of infection control practices in all lines of service in the health care industry. Monkeypox is a DNA virus that originates from the same virus family that causes small pox, but its symptoms are usually less serious. It can be transmitted from animal to human and vice versa. Unlike the coronavirus, monkey pox is a known virus that has been studied for decades.
Survey data indicates that infection prevention surveillance and infection control within long term care facilities is first and foremost in the eyes of surveyors. An in-depth review of Polaris Group’s mock surveys conducted July 2021 to July2022, indicate that 96% of facilities involved were cited at an E level or above for non-compliance with Infection Control practices. Education regarding proper use of PPE and Isolation precautions is more important and challenging than ever, given the migrant population of those serving in care capacities within our facilities.
How can you be prepared for Monkeypox and the next virus after that?
- We recommend extensive review of current infection control training techniques and ensuring that all staff are trained and proficient in PPE use and isolation comprehension. A reminder that CMS defines ‘all staff’ to include agency staff, volunteers, and contracted service providers
- Competency demonstration is an effective means of gauging employees’ level of understanding. It is the very action surveyors are studying during the survey process.
- Updates to policies and data reporting and subsequent communication to facility staff is imperative. If your policies do not include terms such as COVID-19 or influenza or NHSN, you may want to establish a Policy Ad-hoc Committee to do so.
- Consider Polaris Group for your next mock survey. Consultants are equipped with regulatory knowledge and carry an arsenal of tools to help set up processes and ongoing audits.
Polaris Group has experts who will help ensure you are in compliance with training and education requirements. By preparing your staff and arming them with current and accurate information, you verify best practices are followed that can only result in best outcomes for our residents.