Surveillance in Long-term Care

Posted By Chris on

The acronym ICP (Infection Control Practitioner) is typically used to refer to the Infection Control Nurse in long-term care.

In the past, the term Nosocomial Infection was used to describe facility acquired infections; the newer term, Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI) is in use by Preventionists now.

In our last post we discussed many of the duties assigned to the ICP. One of the most important responsibilities is the surveillance program, which is a means of collecting patient data as it pertains to infection prevention and control.

Pertinent information about newly diagnosed infections, the clinical signs and symptoms supporting the diagnosis, and new orders for antibiotic treatments are reported on surveillance logs and then analyzed.

APIC and McGeer defines a Healthcare-associated infection (HAI) as one that develops more than 48 hours after admission. Conversely, a Community–acquired Infection is one that was present on admission or developed with-in 48 hours of admission.

A chronic infection is one present at the same site from 1-3 months. These are monitored by the ICP and nursing staff as are all other infections, but for the purposes of statistical reporting they are referred to as chronic rather than Healthcare-associated infections.

For statistical reporting McGeer’s Definitions of Infection for Surveillance in Long-term Care Facilities are generally recommended as a resource for analyzing and quantifying patient’s signs and symptoms.This information, in combination with reviewing of cultures and sensitivities, drug resistant organisms and anti-biotic usage, is recommended for monitoring and reporting infection rates for data collection purposes, remembering a clinical change in the patient’s condition is reported to the physician, whether or not it meets McGeer’s criteria.

About the author


Hello, my name is Chris Walter. I am a Registered Nurse with experience in several nursing specialties including Surgery, Case Management, Legal Nurse Consulting, Community Health, and Infection Prevention and Control. I have a BSN, a California Public Health Nursing Certificate (PHN) and I am also Certified by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CIC). My hope is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources with Health Care Workers who have an interest in the specialty of Infection Prevention and Control in Long-term Care. Please feel comfortable contacting me at and share your comments with The Preventionist as well. I consider myself a perpetual student, rather than an expert. My intent is to provide information based on recommendations from the masters of infection control and prevention such as; •The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (A.P.I.C.) •The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) •State Department of Public Health All information contained within The Preventionist site is strictly for informational purposes only. None of the statements on this site are to be considered a recommendation for treatment of any particular disease or health related condition.


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