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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

NORTH CAROLINA: Infection-Control Training Mandated at Assisted Living Centers


News and Observer (Raleigh NC) (01.24.12) - Friday, January

This month, a new law requiring infection-control training for staff at North Carolina assisted living centers takes effect.

Duke University's Dr. Thomas Bender, formerly a CDC investigator, said the training compares favorably to efforts in other states to deal with a growing number of hepatitis outbreaks caused by improper diabetes care. "I certainly look at this legislation as a model to hold up for other states," he said. "These rules are a lot more of a response to a very significant problem than you see elsewhere." This year, some 30,000 medical technicians and their supervisors at assisted living centers will take part in a training course developed by the state divisions of Health Service Regulation and Public Health. By the end of next year, medical techs will need five hours of infection-control training before they ever touch a patient, then another 10 hours after starting work. In addition to training, the law mandates monitoring for infections and reporting outbreaks at these facilities.

Dr. Zack Moore, medical epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health, said the law brings infection-control protocols at assisted living centers more in line with those at health care institutions. "It's a real patchwork as far as what kinds of regulations and oversights occur in different settings - hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living," he said. "Adult care homes didn't have very much in the way of training before this bill, which is why it was thought to be important." A 2009 hepatitis B outbreak at the Glen Care Mount Olive assisted living facility in Wayne County that killed six residents was found to be due to improper reuse of fingerstick devices and other instruments used to monitor diabetes. GCMO initially denied it had any role in the deaths but eventually paid $16,000 in state fines for the violations. Reusable fingerstick devices should not even be present in a group setting where assisted monitoring is occurring, Bender noted.


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