Joint Commission–Accredited Long-Term Care Hospitals Perform Significantly Better on Key Infection Control Measures

Study in June 2024 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, June 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Patients at long-term care facilities are at risk for healthcare-associated infections – infections that occur while a patient receives care in a healthcare setting – due to prolonged exposure to bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.

new study in the June 2024 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (JQPS) evaluated healthcare-associated infections in long-term care hospitals. The study evaluated the standardized infection ratio (SIR) of three measures: catheter-associated urinary tract infections, Clostridioides difficile and central line-associated bloodstream infections. The SIR compares the actual number of healthcare-associated infections to the predicted number.

The study compared the SIR between Joint Commission-accredited and non-Joint Commission-accredited facilities for each of the measures. Joint Commission accreditation is an objective evaluation process to help healthcare organizations measure, assess and improve performance in patient safety and healthcare quality. Joint Commission accreditation requires organizations to implement rigorous infection prevention processes and procedures. The data set included 244 (73.3%) Joint Commission-accredited and 89 (26.7%) non-Joint Commission-accredited facilities.

Compared to non-Joint Commission-accredited facilities, Joint Commission-accredited facilities had a significantly better (lower) SIR for catheter-associated urinary tract infections and central line-associated bloodstream infections, but not the Clostridioides difficile measure. For each year of the study period (2017 to 2019 and July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021), a greater proportion of Joint Commission-accredited facilities performed significantly better than the national benchmark for all three measures.

“Positive associations were observed between Joint Commission accreditation and infection control measures,” notes Beth A. Longo, DrPH, MSN, RN, study author and associate director, Department of Research, The Joint Commission. “Multiple factors may explain these findings such as the focus of Joint Commission standards on infection control and prevention and its approach to working with healthcare organizations during the survey process to identify and address infection-related risks.”

“The Joint Commission requires its accredited healthcare organizations to develop an infection control program which requires an organization to conduct a risk assessment and implement evidence-based interventions aimed at preventing healthcare-associated infections,” adds Elizabeth (Liz) Mort, MD, MPHA, vice president and chief medical officer, The Joint Commission. “Today’s leaders are grappling with difficult decisions about what to invest in and the accreditation process can provide a roadmap for leaders to communicate important goals and prioritize investments, which in turn can lead to improvement in important patient infection control outcomes.”

Also featured in the June issue are:

The June issue is part of JQPS’ 50th anniversary celebration. Each month, a topic of importance to the Journal and The Joint Commission will be highlighted. In addition to the articles described above, the June issue has an open-access list of clinician well-being and burnout articles previously published in the Journal.

For more information, please visit the JQPS website.


Note foreditors

The article is “Infection Control Measure Performance in Long-Term Care Hospitals and Their Relationship to Joint Commission Accreditation,” by Stephen P. Schmaltz, PhD, MPH, MS; Beth A. Longo, DrPH, MSN, RN; and Scott C. Williams, PsyD. The article appears in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (JQPS), volume 50, number 6 (June 2024), published by Elsevier.

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (JQPS) is a peer-reviewed journal providing healthcare professionals with innovative thinking, strategies and practices in improving quality and safety in healthcare. JQPS is the official journal of The Joint Commission and Joint Commission Resources, Inc. Original case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or the new application of methodologies, research studies, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.


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