A bill approved by the New Jersey Legislature makes outbreak response plans a condition of licensure for assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities in the state.
S2798 requires assisted living communities, personal care homes, memory care communities, residential healthcare facilities and nursing homes to establish infection prevention and control committees to create outbreak response plans.
Plans must include protocols for isolating and cohorting infected residents, routine monitoring of residents and staff members, and notification policies.
Each long-term care facility also must designate an infection preventionist, who would be responsible for developing policies, procedures and training curriculum for staff members as well as monitoring the implementation of infection prevention policies.
Kathy Fieri, the Health Care Association of New Jersey’s vice president of assisted living, told McKnight’s Senior Living that the bill provides “reasonable” expectations related to infection prevention. Rather than requiring each facility to hire a preventionist, facilities can hire one full-time person for up to five buildings, she explained.
The bill applies additional requirements for nursing facilities, including the employment of a physician who has completed an infectious disease fellowship.
The bill, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, updates a 2019 reform law adopted in the wake of a deadly outbreak at a rehabilitation hospital that housed medically fragile children.