Thursday, February 26, 2015

CDC: C. diff Caused Half a Million Infections in a Single Year

The CDC has released a new study that reveals Clostridium difficile (or C. diff) caused almost half a million infections in U.S. patients in a single year.

Of those infected, 29,000 died within 30 days of their initial diagnosis. Fifteen thousand of those deaths are estimated to be directly attributable to C. diff infection. Of particular concern for long-term care, more than 80 percent of the deaths associated directly with C. diff occurred in adults 65 years or older and more than 100,000 cases develop in nursing homes each year.

C. diff causes colon inflammation and deadly diarrhea. Infection can occur through touching surfaces or items that are contaminated with feces. C. diff is shed through feces.

The new CDC study revealed that one out of every five patients with healthcare-associated C. diff experienced a recurrence of the infection and one out of every nine patients aged 65 or older died within 30 days of diagnosis.

The CDC noted that these infections can be prevented by improving infection control and antibiotic prescribing.

To read the press release, click here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Back to Basics: Hand Hygiene

The number one way to prevent the spread of infection is to practice proper hand hygiene. Is the staff at your facility vigilant about performing it when they should?

CMS defines hand hygiene as “a general term that applies to washing hands with water and either plain soap or soap/detergent containing an antiseptic agent; or thoroughly applying an alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR).”1

The agency lists the following situations as requiring hand hygiene1:

  • When coming on duty
  • When hands are visibly soiled (soap and water should be used)
  • Before and after direct resident contact
  • Before and after performing any invasive procedure, such as fingerstick blood sampling
  • Before and after entering isolation precaution settings
  • Before and after eating or handling food (soap and water should be used)
  • Before and after assisting a resident with meals
  • Before and after assisting a resident with personal care (e.g., oral care or bathing)
  • Before and after handling peripheral vascular catheters and other invasive devices
  • Before and after inserting indwelling catheters
  • Before and after changing dressings
  • Upon and after coming in contact with a resident's intact skin (such as when taking a pulse or blood pressure or lifting a resident)
  • After personal use of the toilet (soap and water should be used)
  • Before and after assisting a resident with toileting
  • After contact with a resident who has infection diarrhea, including, but not limited to, infections caused by norovirus, salmonella, shigella and C. difficile (soap and water should be used)
  • After blowing or wiping your nose
  • After contact with a resident's mucous membranes and body fluids or excretions
  • After handling soiled or used linens, dressing, bedpans, catheters and urinals
  • After handling soiled equipment or utensils
  • After performing your personal hygiene (soap and water should be used)
  • After removing gloves or aprons
  • In food service settings (soap and water)
  • After completing duty

The CDC offers a number of resources to assist healthcare facilities with hand hygiene, including promotional materials, guidelines and training tools.

To learn more about the hand hygiene products available from Professional Medical, contact your territory manager, give us a call at (800) 648-5190 or visit us online at

1 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. State Operations Manual. Appendix PP – Guidance to Surveyors for Long Term Facilities (Rev. 133, 02-06-15). Available at: Accessed February 19, 2015. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Incontinence Products: Change When Wet or Change When Needed?

Do you change your residents' incontinence management products as soon as they're wet, or only when it's necessary? Many of today's products are made using advanced technology that allows a single brief to hold multiple voids without sacrificing resident comfort or skin health.

Facilities using the "change when wet" strategy change a brief as soon as the wetness indicator shows that any wetness is present. The "change when needed" strategy, on the other hand, calls for changing the product only when two to three fingers' width of wetness is shown on the indicator. Of course, if fecal matter is present, the brief is changed right away.

The "change when needed" strategy is a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. Caregivers should use their experience with an individual resident to determine whether it would be a good fit for that person. When used correctly, this strategy can reduce the number of changes per day that a resident has to endure, which in turn helps promote resident dignity.

This strategy is especially beneficial for nighttime changes. Research has found that residents who spend less of the night asleep are more likely to nap during the day, are at a higher risk for falls and are at risk of shorter survival. Additionally, when residents are exposed to room-level light in the middle of the night, their circadian rhythms can shift, further upsetting their sleep patterns.1

Extended-use and overnight absorbent products offer a higher total capacity, which can reduce the number of changes needed at night. A high-capacity product, combined with the "change when needed" strategy, can equal a peaceful night for the resident.

Your ProMed territory manager can help you develop a protocol that fits your residents' individual needs. To learn more, contact your territory manager, give us a call at (800) 648-5190 or visit us online at

1 Martin JL, Ancoli-Israel S. Sleep Disturbances in Long-Term Care. Clin Geriatr Med. Feb 2008;24(1):39-vi.

Friday, February 20, 2015

CMS Beefs Up Five-Star Rating System

CMS today enacted several previously announced changes to the Five Star Quality Rating System on the Nursing Home Compare website.

The changes, which were initially announced in October, include the following:

  • Antipsychotic use is now calculated into star ratings
  • Improved calculations for staffing levels
  • Higher standards for nursing homes to achieve a high rating on the quality measure dimension on the website 

The agency notes that star ratings allow consumers to see important differences in quality among nursing homes to help them make better care decisions. Nursing homes are rated on three categories: results from onsite inspections, staffing levels and performance on certain quality measures.

To learn more, click here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Dos and Don'ts of Flu Season

The flu season isn't quite done with us! What should you do if you feel it taking hold of you? Here's a list of things that could help and others that are just a waste of time.

Five things worth trying
  1. Antivirals. Tamiflu and Relenza have been shown to cut a day or two off the time you spend suffering from the flu. 
  2. Analgesics. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can reduce fever and help ease muscle aches, but patients who have asthma, high blood pressure or other chronic conditions should check with a doctor to ensure it's safe to take them. 
  3. Fluids. Clear liquids such as water, broth and sports drinks can help prevent dehydration. 
  4. OTC remedies. Decongestants and antihistamines can help ease runny noses, congestion and coughing. 
  5. Rest. The best thing to do for yourself and others if you have the flu or a bad cold is to stay home and rest. That way, you won't spread germs - and admit it, you probably wouldn't be that effective at work feeling the way that you do. 

Five things to forget 
  1. Herbal supplements. There's very little evidence that any of them work and it's hard to get concrete evidence because they come in different formulations, sometimes even from different types of plants. 
  2. Zinc: Again, the different formulations of zinc make it difficult to definitely say whether it boosts the immune system, as claimed. The FDA recommends against using it in the nasal gel form because it can lead to a permanent loss of smell. 
  3. Cough syrup: The American Lung Association cautions that there is no evidence that guaifenesin, an expectorant, can help ease a cough. The American College of Chest Physicians recommends against using any cough syrup. 
  4. Cold remedies for kids: The FDA says OTC cold, flu and cough remedies shouldn't be given to children under 2 and the Infectious Diseases Society of America says not to give them to kids under 4. 
  5. Vitamins: Ultra-high doses of Vitamin C, the supposed cure-all, can lead to diarrhea. There are no major studies that prove Vitamin C can shorten the duration of a cold. Ditto for Vitamin E. 

To learn more, click here

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Study: Turn Down the Music for Better Short-Term Memory

The positive benefits of elderly people listening to music have long been celebrated, but a new study suggests that it might also cause seniors to be less able to commit simple information to short-term memory. 

During the study, college-aged individuals and older adults were asked to match faces and names they were given under two scenarios, the first being silence and the second being listening to musical rain or non-lyrical rock music (including lesser-known songs from Eric Clapton, Jefferson Airplane and Rush). 

The researchers found that both age groups found the music distracting, but older adults remembered 10 percent fewer names when listening to music. 

The researchers said their findings could be useful to long-term care facilities in activity planning. 

To learn more, click here

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Disinfecting Products: What to Use Where?

Clorox, the name you know and trust for surface disinfection, has products to suit all of your facility’s cleaning needs – but which one should be used where? We’ve put together the handy list below to help.

Clorox 4 in One Disinfectant & Sanitizer
Effective against: 24 microorganisms
For use on: Soft surfaces including mattresses, curtains, cushions, and rugs and for sanitizing the air

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
Effective against: 99.9 percent of household germs, including viruses that cause colds and flu
For use on: Countertops, faucets, tiled surfaces, appliance exteriors, finished wood surfaces, glass, mirrors

Clorox Commercial Solutions Disinfecting Wipes
Effective against: 99.9 percent of illness-causing germs, including Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, E. coli and viruses that cause colds and flu
For use on: A variety of common surfaces found in offices, exercise areas, kitchens and bathrooms

Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Spray and Wipes
Effective against: More than 40 microorganisms, including 13 antibiotic-resistant organisms, with the fastest non-bleach disinfecting times available
For use on: Hard and soft surfaces, including polyester, cotton, stainless steel, glass, glazed tile, porcelain enamel, plastic, vinyl, backed enamel, glazed ceramic, laminated surfaces, Formica, chrome, glazed porcelain, painted surfaces and polycarbonate

Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Spray
Effective against: 41 microorganisms, including norovirus and C. diff spores
For use on: Clinical surfaces such as autoclaves, blood glucose monitors, IV poles, bed railings, dialysis machines, respiratory equipment, ultrasound transducers and probes, plastic mattress covers, phlebotomy trays, reception counters, wash basins, wheelchairs, doorknobs, bathtubs, sinks and toilets

Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes
Effective against: 51 microorganisms, including norovirus, TB and C. diff spores
For use on: Clinical surfaces such as stainless steel, plastic, glazed ceramic, glass, porcelain and more, as well as equipment including glucometers, oximeters and blood pressure monitors

Clorox Broad Spectrum Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner
Effective against: 90 microorgansisms, including MRSA, HIV, VRE, Hepatitis B and C and more
For use on: Nonporous medical surfaces, such as counters, carts, bedside tables, bed rails, walls, mattress covers, commodes and wheelchairs

Clorox Urine Remover
Effective against: Urine odors and stains as well as other bodily fluids including feces, blood and vomit
For use on: Hard-to-clean porous and soft surfaces, including porous grout, carpet and mattresses

To learn more about the complete line of Clorox products available from ProMed, contact your territory manager, call our Customer Care team at 800.648.5190 or click here.