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High risk of superbug infections in LTC facilities, yet Ontario MOHLTC does not track infection rate

Late last year, the Ontario Auditor General reported on health care acquired infections in long term care homes. Below are some highlights, note in particular the comments regarding cleaning.

• There is a high risk of infectious diseases [such as C. difficile, febrile respira­tory illness (FRI), methicillin-resistant Staphylo­coccus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)] spreading among residents of long-term-care homes because they often share rooms and generally eat and participate in activities together. As well, older residents are generally more vulnerable to illness.

• The Ministry of Health and LTC does not have information on the total number of cases of health care acquired infections (HAIs) in long-term-care homes. The information collected at the homes the AG visited was generally not compar­able because the homes defined and counted HAIs in different ways.

• Homes generally did not have unoccupied rooms to move infectious residents into.

• Although the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) recommends cleaning the rooms of residents who have C. difficile twice a day, none of the homes did this.

• In the 2008/09 fiscal year, 81 C. difficile outbreaks in homes were reported to the Ministry.

• Unlike hospitals, long-term-care homes are not required to report publicly on certain patient-safety indicators, such as health-care-acquired cases of C. difficile, MRSA, and VRE, as well as hand-hygiene compliance among health-care workers.

• None of the Infection Prevention and Control Professionals designated by the homes had the specific training recommended by PIDAC

The full report is available here. and the AG's media release concerning the LTC report here.  Notably the AG recommended cleaning the rooms of residents who have C. difficile twice a day.


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CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
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