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Making Sense of F-441

Revised guidance is raising as many questions as it provides answers

By Pam West and Laura Kuhn

In the last issue of Embrace, we published an article titled "And Then There Was F-441." In the article, we posed the question "Will revised infection control guidance be one of the top tags of 2010?" As it turns out, the answer is yes. F-441 is making a lot of noise in the long-term care community, and there is still a lot of confusion about what exactly needs to be done and when.

To try to get to the bottom of the issue, I sat down with ProMed's very own Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Compliance, Pam West. Pam is also a Wound Care Certified Nurse with 32 years in the industry.

LAURA: Is F-441 really shaping up to be one of the top tags this year?

PAM: From what I'm hearing, it is! Almost every facility I've talked to has been cited on F-441. The most common reason has to do with glucometer disinfection. IJs are being handed out like M&Ms. From what I can tell, a lot of whether or not you're tagged has to do with what part of the country you're in. Facilities are being cited for not following manufacturer recommendations on disinfecting their meters. Others are being cited for not following the manufacturer's guidelines on the use of their disinfectant, and others are being tagged due to the dwell time of the disinfectant not being followed. The list goes on and on.

Laura, we at Professional Medical have researched this subject up one side and down the other and the truth is that there is a lot of information on this subject out there. It's difficult to interpret and it is very confusing. When you read the State Operations Manual, it refers you to the CDC, which in turn refers you to the FDA and/or the EPA. I will do my best to try to explain the situation here.

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