Keeping Residents Safe
Use of Enhanced Barrier Precautions
Dear Residents, Families, Friends, and Volunteers:
You may have noticed new signs on some doors that say “Enhanced Barrier Precautions” and staff wearing gowns and gloves more often. We’re doing this based on new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect our residents and staff from germs that can cause serious infections and are hard to treat. You may have heard these germs called multidrug-resistant organisms or MDROs in the news.
Studies have shown that more than 50% of nursing home residents have these germs on or in their body, especially in places where the skin is broken, such as wounds or insertion sites of medical devices like feeding tubes. Most of the time people never know they are carrying these germs but under certain conditions they can enter the body and cause serious infections.
Fortunately, there are many things we can do to keep these germs from spreading, but we need your help! Two important practices are:
- Cleaning our hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can kill these germs and keep us from spreading them with our hands. This is why we remind you and your visitors to frequently clean your hands.
- Using gowns and gloves. Since we can’t wash our clothes between caring for residents, gowns and gloves help keep these germs from getting on our clothes and spreading to others when we are having close contact with residents. This is why you might see us wearing a gown and gloves when we are performing transfers or other activities involving a lot of contact with a resident. Just because we are wearing a gown and gloves doesn’t mean that a resident is carrying one of these germs. We also wear them to protect residents who might be more vulnerable to developing a serious infection if exposed to these germs. We will also wear them if we expect a care activity to be messy, like if we are changing a dressing on a wound.
To support these practices, you will see more alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers, carts to hold clean gowns and gloves, and trash cans so we can change gowns and gloves between residents. You will also see more signs to help remind staff when they should be wearing gowns and gloves.
We are always happy to answer any questions you might have about actions we are taking to protect our residents and staff and appreciate your support!