The population of infants, children, and adolescents cared for at pediatric long-term care facilities is increasing in complexity and size and thus consumes substantial health care resources. Infections are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in this population, but few recent data describe their incidence and effects.Objectives
To describe the types of infections diagnosed in residents of pediatric long-term care facilities, calculate infection rates, and identify risk factors for respiratory tract infections (RTIs).Design, Setting, and Participants
This prospective cohort study, which was part of a larger trial called Keep It Clean for Kids, was conducted from September 1, 2012, to December 31, 2015, at 3 pediatric long-term care facilities in New York. Residents of the facilities who were 21 years or younger and either residents or admitted during the study period (n = 717) were enrolled in the study. Medical records were reviewed to identify infections diagnosed by site clinicians.Main Outcomes and Measures
Incidence of infections, such as RTIs; skin and soft-tissue infections; chronic comorbid conditions, including neurologic and respiratory disorders; and device use, including gastrostomy tubes and tracheostomies, was determined. Risk factors for RTIs were assessed by generalized linear mixed method regression modeling.Results
The 717 residents had a median (interquartile range) age at enrollment of 2.6 (0.4-9.1) years; 358 (49.9%) were male. Four hundred twenty-eight residents (59.7%) had feeding tubes and 215 (30.0%) had tracheostomies. Most chronic comorbid conditions were musculoskeletal or ambulation (532 residents [74.2%]), neurologic (505 [70.4%]), respiratory (361 [50.3%]), and gastrointestinal (230 [32.1%]) disorders, and 460 residents (64.2%) had 4 or more chronic comorbid conditions. Site clinicians diagnosed 2052 infections during the 3-year study period. Respiratory tract infections were most common and were diagnosed in 1291 residents (62.9%). The overall infection rate was 5.3 infections per 1000 resident-days, and RTI rates were 3.3 infections per 1000 resident-days. Overall infection rates and rates of RTI, skin and soft-tissue infection, urinary tract infection, and bloodstream infection varied among the 3 sites. In the multivariable model, younger age (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.05; 95% CI, 1.03-1.06), increased number of chronic comorbid conditions (IRR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.06-1.19), and the use of feeding tubes (IRR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.03-1.64) and tracheostomies (IRR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.17-1.69) were associated with RTIs.Conclusions and Relevance
In this study, RTIs were the most common infections diagnosed, but modifiable risk factors for RTIs were not identified. Future work should focus on optimizing infection prevention and control strategies to reduce infections, particularly RTIs, in the pediatric long-term care population.