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Care homes struggle to uncover root causes of infection

A key challenge for care homes in infection prevention and control is to uncover how an outbreak begins.  Then, once an infection begins to spread, identifying who is responsible for the necessary control measures is not always easy, research into IPC has found.

Beyond the control of the care home: A meta-ethnography of qualitative studies of Infection Prevention and Control in residential and nursing homes for older people concludes that high staff turnover and the use of external health care professionals such as GPs to diagnose or treat an infection are among the negative influences in IPC.

Researchers believe that ongoing staff training, managerial commitment and organisational improvements can effect positive changes.  

Research lead Dr Maria Panagiotiz said: “In England, Government policy around the discharge of patients from hospitals into care homes has been used to explain how COVID-19 spreads though care homes.

 “However, we believe this is only part of the story.”

The study, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR GM PSTRC), analysed data and previous research from 2007 to 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to understand the reasons how viruses spread and identify how to influence this both now and into the future.

Panagiotiz continued: “In conducting this research we’ve analysed a large number of studies to identify some of the reasons why Infection Prevention and Control might not always be effective in stopping COVID in its tracks.”


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