Background: Limited information is available regarding the role of infection control in the prevention of infection in nursing and residential care homes. Objectives: To determine what infection control policies and procedures are in place in care homes for older people in Northern Ireland. Methods: Anonymous postal questionnaire survey of all 410 nursing and residential homes in Northern Ireland that provide care to residents over the age of 65. Results: A total of 318 (78%) questionnaires were returned. Visits from infection control nurses from health boards or community trusts were infrequent, with only 23% of homes receiving such a visit. Nearly all homes (99.7%) had a policy on infection control, with 72.4% and 84.3% of homes having a policy on the admission and care of residents with meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) respectively. Of those respondents that had a policy on admission of persons with MRSA, only a small percentage (9.2%) would not admit residents with MRSA. Only 11% of respondents believed that MRSA was a problem in their particular home, but at least 30% agreed that there was a problem with MRSA in care homes. A desire was expressed for more information and support, with 75% of respondents agreeing that more information should be provided to homes on MRSA. Conclusions: There is a clear need for additional infection control advice to be available to care homes and for the development of uniform policies and an infection control audit tool. The audit tool could then be used to ensure that the appropriate policies and standards are in place within care homes and that these standards are met on an ongoing basis.
- Infection control
- Meticillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA)
- Nursing home
- Residential home
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing