Long Island (NY) has the highest incidence of human immunodeficiency virus infection of any suburban area in the United States. Until 1988, however, no patient with the acquired immunodeficiency virus had been admitted to any one of the 61 Long Island nursing home facilities.
A 10-bed acquired immunodeficiency syndrome unit was established in a county-owned skilled nursing facility. Before implementation of the unit, all staff members underwent extensive training and education, and standard precautions against infection were emphasized. Meetings were held with current residents of the nursing home and their families to address their fears and concerns. The unit was staffed entirely on a volunteer basis.
The unit was opened in October 1990, and 16 patients have been admitted since that time. The geriatric and human immunodeficiency virus-positive patients interact well, and no complaints have been received from the geriatric patients or their families. No known breaches in infection control policies have occurred. There have been no problems in staff recruitment.
Long-term care for patients with human immunodeficiency virus in an existing nursing home facility is an achievable goal.(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:823-825)