Improving infection control practices in nursing homes is a must. Residents, even staff, had a hugely disproportionate number of COVID-19-relate deaths compared to the rest of the United States. Instead of receiving support, nurses were faced with constant changes in regulations and punitive measures. Nurses are key to infection control, but during and after the pandemic, they increasingly felt stressed, frustrated, and exhausted in the workplace. More than 25% of nurses experienced increased incivility or bullying from other nursing staff, managers, and business administrators. High levels of stress and increased workloads often lead health workers to skip simple practices like washing their hands.
Simple changes can make a significant difference in the skilled nursing community. Little was done to support caregivers in a meaningful way during the pandemic and following. Nearly 2 in 3 nurses felt unsafe when reusing PPE as recommended, and 80% of US nurses experience PPE shortages. Distributing new practices and guidelines with boots-on-the-ground in-person support allows healthcare facilities to start with the basics and work towards more high-level practices. One day of in-person training is more valuable than months of searching and studying online material. Implementing infection control protocols can ensure a safe and healthy future for an industry that may not impact us today, but will touch all of our lives eventually.