St. Francis Health Services of Morris (SFHS) has actively been expanding their overall infection prevention and control program and has implemented an antibiotic stewardship program in each of their thirteen skilled nursing facilities; Aitkin Health Services, Browns Valley Health Center, Chisholm Health Center, Franciscan Health Center (Duluth), Farmington Health Services, Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center (Hibbing), Koochiching Health Services (Littlefork), Little Falls Health Services, Pennington Health Services (Thief River Falls), Renville Health Services, Viewcrest Health Center (Duluth), West Wind Village (Morris), and Zumbrota Health Services. On January 1, 2017, SFHS launched its Controlling Infection Challenges Creatively (CICC) Project as a result of being awarded the Minnesota Nursing Facility Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Since then, SFHS has implemented evidenced based practice guidelines for infection prevention and control with the ultimate goal to provide the safest and most optimal resident care. As a result, SFHS is seeing a decrease in their overall infection rate.
Marla Miller, RN, BSN, PHN, IP-BC, Corporate Grant Coordinator for SFHS explains, “The CICC project has allowed SFHS to focus on putting some really effective practices into place and we are already seeing the impact as we reach the midpoint of our grant timeframe. Our urinary tract infection (UTI) rate is currently down by 44%. We are seeing a reduction in the other infections we track also. It is exciting to see what can happen when you aim for excellence, which is one of SFHS’s core values. As our efforts continue, we are hopeful we can reduce our infection rates even more. This is a win-win for the residents we serve. It also impacts the health and wellbeing of the staff that work within our care centers.”
Each long term care center has an infection prevention and control officer (IPCO) nurse and team devoted to accurately identifying infections, advocating for proper treatment, and preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Training and education for nursing, housekeeping, laundry, and dietary has been done and will continue to be the focus of the CICC project. Educational resources and materials for residents and families have been developed too. Enhancing infection surveillance and putting an antibiotic stewardship program in place has helped SFHS achieve success with their infection rates. Miller explains, “Advocating for the appropriate use of antibiotics for our residents is not always easy to do, but it is making an impact, and allowing for better and improved outcomes. When we get smarter about antibiotic use, we actually get better at assessing our resident’s overall health needs and we treat them appropriately. Just last week one of our IPCO nurses questioned an order for an antibiotic as the resident didn’t meet criteria for the infection diagnosis. The physician decided to hold off on prescribing the antibiotic and made some changes to the resident’s other medications, which ultimately improved the condition of the resident. Oftentimes antibiotics are seen as a quick-fix solution, when there could legitimately be other things going on with the resident. If we use antibiotics appropriately, we save antibiotics for when they are truly needed and prevent unnecessary resistance or complications, such as Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff). The benefits for our residents is staggering.”
SFHS is committed to using antibiotics appropriately and safely. SFHS will continue to work with their medical providers, pharmacy consultants, and entire healthcare team to aim for excellence in care.