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Nursing Home Complaint Regarding Infection Control

Surprisingly, nursing homes (as well as hospitals and other health care institutions) are homes to many different strains of aggressive infecting organisms. Unfortunately, many senior citizens are especially susceptible to becoming seriously ill from infections and often make a poor recovery from an infection.

There are federal regulations which address the issue of infection control in a nursing home setting:

The facility must establish and maintain an infection control 
program designed to provide a safe, sanitary, and comfortable environment
and to help prevent the development and transmission of disease and 
  (a) Infection control program. The facility must establish an infection
control program under which it:
  (1) Investigates, controls, and prevents infections in the facility;
  (2) Decides what procedures, such as isolation, should be applied to 
an individual resident; and
  (3) Maintains a record of incidents and corrective actions related to
  (b) Preventing spread of infection. (1) When the infection control 
program determines that a resident needs isolation to prevent the spread
of infection, the facility must isolate the resident.
  (2) The facility must prohibit employees with a communicable disease or
infected skin lesions from direct contact with residents or their food, if
direct contact will transmit the disease.
  (3) The facility must require staff to wash their hands after each direct
resident contact for which handwashing is indicated by accepted 
professional practice.
  (c) Linens. Personnel must handle, store, process, and transport linens 
so as to prevent the spread of infection.

42 CFR 483.65

The facility's practice of maintaining an infection control program and its implementation of safe infection prevention practices are often difficult for families to determine from observation and can only recognize that there are deficiencies in that regard after a resident has suffered a serious infection. On the other hand, frequent observations of the staff failing to wash their hands when needed is something which family members can observe and can serve as a legitimate basis for filing a nursing home complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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The submission process was easy to use and very straightforward. After submitting my complaint, I received confirmation from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health that they had received my complaint and would be investigating the nursing home.

-S.B., Filed nursing home complaint about Provena McAuley Manor in Aurora Illinois

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