What is Patient Safety Culture (PSC) and why is it an important consideration when creating an infection control policy for assisted living facilities?

“Patient safety culture is the extent to which an organization’s culture supports and promotes patient safety. It refers to the values, beliefs, and norms that are shared by healthcare practitioners and other staff throughout the organization that influence their actions and behaviors,” according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Direct care workers in assisted living facilities have a more negative view of resident safety in their organizations than administrators do, according to a recent report in the Journal of American Medical Directors that measured PSC using the AHRQ’s Surveys on Patient Safety Culture.

Staff training, one of the 12 domains measured by the surveys, can have a significant impact on the quality of resident safety in assisted living. “The better trained staff are, the more likely they are to provide high-quality care to residents and the less likely they are to feel frustrated and burned out,” said Dr. Helen Kales, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis Health, in a related article in Kaiser Health News.

Creating an infection control policy that incorporates a focus on PSC, including staff training, can greatly improve resident outcomes and contribute to staff job satisfaction.

Other areas of concentration when creating an effective infection control policy for assisted living facilities are:

  • Basic infection control, including contact, droplet, and airborne procedures
  • Basic disease control, including influenza, MRSA, norovirus, and head lice
  • Staff health and hygiene
  • Exposure control, including bloodborne pathogens and respiratory protection
  • Environmental control, including managing sharps and biohazardous waste

Administrators creating an infection control policy for assisted living facilities can find guides and staff training programs at SeniorLivingU, including an in-depth manual and DVD set, Infection Control & You. For additional infection control resources, visit www.seniorlivingu.com/?s=infection+control.

SeniorLivingU, located in Hershey, PA, provides educational resources for assisted living administrators and staff. Comprehensive training materials are available through the Anytime Online Learning Portal, certificate programs, manuals and textbooks, DVDs and instant downloads. For common questions about our assisted living education or information about how to purchase our educational products, visit our FAQ page. To learn more about SeniorLivingU and the services and resources we provide, contact us today.