Handling Outbreak in Long-Term Care homes – the role of an IPAC Specialist

With so many outbreaks occurring in Long Term Care currently, a big focus is being placed on ensuring the health and safety of both residents and staff. While outbreaks are certainly common during different seasons, the reality is that when infections are detected early, it is possible to prevent outbreaks by breaking any of the 6 links in the chain of transmission to stop the spread of illness. According to data, 70 percent of infections in healthcare settings are preventable. It is important that each Long-Term Care home is taking appropriate infection control measures to prevent unnecessary exposure to harmful microorganisms.

Here are some ways you can help prevent and properly manage outbreaks within the home:

1. Surveillance:

Surveillance is defined by the CDC as the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health-related data essential to planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice. Surveillance is an essential component of any effective IPAC program.

In a long-term care or retirement home setting, surveillance involves monitoring residents daily for signs and symptoms of certain illnesses in order to determine what is their baseline functioning level, and to identify any changes to baseline, should that occur. By establishing the baseline respiratory infection rate in a health care setting through a robust infection surveillance system, the endemic rate of respiratory infections can be determined.

We’ve made it easy for you to track ongoing illnesses by providing you with this FREE Outbreak Management Chart. You can click the link below to download our free resource:

2. Communication:

One of the most acute ways to manage outbreaks is effective communication. When everyone is well-informed, proper measures can be put into place to help prevent unnecessary spread. A healthy communication plan should include some of the following considerations:

– Regularly updating staff with ongoing initiatives

– Documenting new cases

– Providing regular training opportunities of best IPAC practices

– Leveraging 3rd party reporting for regular staff feedback

– Posting clearly visible signage outlining (If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind).


As we continue to see outbreaks in Long-Term Care homes and retirement homes, we want you to know that you are not alone in this. We understand this season has been difficult, and you are working tirelessly around the clock to keep our most vulnerable residents safe. Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice to help ensure the health of all residents!

The Ontario Government has allocated dedicated funding towards infection prevention and control in long-term care homes as needed. We are encouraged to see awareness and movement towards healthier and safer environments and are proud at IPAC to partner with so many long-term care homes all across Ontario in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19.

If you are looking for continued support in helping realize effective infection prevention and control, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation!

Talk to a LTC Consultant

Download Our Free Resource

We’ve made it easy for you to track ongoing illnesses by providing you with this FREE Outbreak Management Chart. You can click the link below to download our free resource:

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