Editorials

Controlling infection in British nursing homes

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7285.506 (Published 03 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:506

It is time for a national strategy

  1. Sheldon P Stone (s.stone@rfc.ucl.ac.uk), senior lecturer in geriatric medicine,
  2. C C Kibbler, consultant microbiologist,
  3. C Bowman, associate director,
  4. David Stott, professor of geriatric medicine
  1. Royal Free Hospital, London NW3 2PF
  2. International Institute on Health and Ageing, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TX
  3. Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow G4 0SF

    The Public Health Laboratory Service recently published the first audit of infection control practice in nursing homes in the United Kingdom.1 It proposes 16 critical standards relevant to person to person spread of infection. It recommends that inspectors should adopt these standards to assure quality in infection control in nursing homes and link accreditation to compliance. The audit and the standards are both long overdue.

    The 1993 Community Care Act resulted in a major shift of patients from NHS long stay hospital beds to private community based nursing homes.2 There are no surveillance or point prevalence studies in the UK, so the current position with respect to control and prevention of infections in UK nursing homes is unknown, though the medical and nursing resources to prevent and manage infection are thought not to have followed the patients into the community.3

    In NHS long stay ward residents …

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