The 24-Hour Report as an Effective Infection Prevention Tool in Nursing Homes

A recent study exploring the effectiveness of twenty-four-hour reports in infection prevention and control showed that they are essential components. Infections are known to be highly prevalent among nursing home residents and can lead to morbidity and mortality. This fact is unsurprising, considering that residents are constantly clustered in constrained living environments and frequently perform daily activities in groups. Residents with impaired cognitive functioning may have difficulty engaging in fundamental hygiene practices. Far too many caregivers receive deficient training and lack the knowledge necessary to implement basic infection control. Because residents are physiologically aged and often carry comorbid diseases, not only do site-specific infections develop easily, they are also difficult to diagnose. Consequently, identification and treatment can be delayed.

A twenty-four-hour report is a vital tool used to monitor a resident’s changing condition. Once a nurse fills out a 24-hour report at the end of a shift, it is then reviewed by infection control professionals (ICPs) and discussed amongst staff members during morning meetings. Because staff members include the director of nursing, unit managers, and various administrators, 24-hour reports prove their ability to significantly enhance communication regarding infection prevention. The ability of ICPs to utilize these reports to monitor residents believed to carry infections and are taking antibiotic medication reflects a crucial element of an infection prevention program. Although the use of 24-hour reports by nursing homes is quite universal, the content of these reports is highly variable and diminishes their efficacy. The implementation of a standardized report would give facilities the flexibility to customize particular qualities of infection control to meet their specific needs. Environments where ICP turnovers are common can find this especially useful. These reports could then be instrumental in documentation of present multidrug-resistant organisms, symptoms regulating antibiotic prescribing, and regulation of transmission-based precautions. Reports regarding the duration and indication of antibiotic agent use and presence of inhabitant devices could also be added to assess inappropriate antibiotics and device utilization.