The 1980s saw the birth and growth of the distinct field of infection control in the extended care facility (ECF). Major advances in the field during the last decade have been surveys documenting the magnitude of the problem of ECF nosocomial infections, descriptive studies of ECF nosocomial infections, descriptive studies of ECF epidemics, development of ECF infection control programs, and recognition of the unique problems of the ECF infection control program. As the field matures, areas that should receive additional attention during the upcoming decade include: analysis of the risk factors and consequences of ECF nosocomial infections; analysis of resident and institutional variables that predict nosocomial infection; and studies on the efficacy of both infection control programs and specific infection control measures. ECF infection control programs have benefited a great deal from hospital infection control, but ECF infection control problems are quite different and demand unique solutions.
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