What is Infection Control in Aged Care


Controlling Disease Outbreak in Aged Care

The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the importance of disinfection and sanitation. Ensuring the cleanliness of your space is crucial – now, more than ever before. After all, with the pandemic, disinfection is a matter of life and death. This statement is doubly true, especially for aged care facilities. 

According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control or CDC, 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the US are of adults 65 years old and older. Likewise, older individuals are more at risk of being hospitalized or experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19. 

With coronavirus statistics stacked against aged care facilities, the responsibility of managing infectious diseases is thrust at the forefront. As a business owner or manager of a 55+ community, it is up to you to maintain a level of cleanliness that can protect your clients and residents. Thankfully, you don’t have to scratch your head and do the brunt work alone. Below is a concise guide to keeping infectious diseases at bay at a retirement home:

Most Common Types of Infectious Diseases in Retirement Homes

A person’s immune system becomes compromised with age. With the body’s first line of defense deteriorating, it becomes imperative to safeguard the health of older individuals. A simple infection, especially for those with comorbidities, can be fatal. 

Knowing the enemy is half the battle won. In aged care facilities, respiratory infections are the most common form of infectious disease. The spread of the flu virus is bolstered by close quarters and constant exposure to other people. Aside from respiratory ailments, gastrointestinal infections are also prevalent in retirement homes.

Both gastrointestinal and respiratory issues are transmitted through several means. Physical contact, respiratory droplets, airborne dissemination, and ingestion are only a few of the most common sources of outbreaks. 

Outbreak Preparedness

As they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. At the core of infectious disease management is readying the aged care facility for possible outbreaks. Despite your due diligence, there is still a chance that an outbreak will happen. It is best to equip your staff with what they need to combat this dire situation. 

Prepare for Seasonal Outbreaks

As far as respiratory ailments are concerned, the number of flu cases hike during certain times of the year. In the US, cases increase drastically around the winter season. As such, the fall months are the perfect time to prepare your staff and facility for the possibility of seasonal outbreaks.  

Protect Staff and Employees

Your employees are, without a doubt, your company’s most valuable assets. Day-n and day-out, they are amidst the trenches with the individuals that your facility services. It is your responsibility to protect them from any threats to their health and wellness. After all, they wouldn’t be able to provide the care your clients need if they are sick themselves. 

Immunization for your personnel is quite an investment. However, it is an investment worth making. Vaccines help halt the spread of infection and protect a person from contracting the disease in the first place. 

Train Personnel for Early Detection

Arguably, any type of disease is easier to treat if it is detected early. In an aged facility, arming your staff with ample knowledge on common symptoms of diseases can prevent the infection from spreading to other residents. 

Educate Your Maintenance Team on Proper Disinfection

Depending on the specific disease and strain, respiratory droplets stay potent on a surface for several hours. This means that if an infected person coughs on a stair railing, an individual touching that surface can get sick from exposure hours after the pathogen has been deposited. 

Employing a strict standard on cleanliness is key to protecting your facility’s residents. It is crucial to create a maintenance and disinfection policy for your maintenance staff. Your policy should include the most effective disinfection methods and schedule of cleaning in every area of your operation. Likewise, proper training should be provided for your employees. 

How to Manage an Outbreak in Aged Care

Managing an Outbreak

Again, outbreaks happen. Especially in such close quarters as an aged care facility, it is almost impossible to halt every and all infection. That said, when an outbreak happens, your number one priority should always be stopping the spread. The fewer people are infected, the easier it will be for your staff to handle the outbreak. 

Halt Admissions

Your first step in securing your operation is to pause admissions of new residents. You don’t want to introduce more people to an already compromised area. The fewer people are exposed, the less likely the infection would spread. Likewise, it is best to suspend visitations. Limit visits with emergencies. 

Disinfect the Area

As discussed earlier, a disinfection policy should be in place in cases of an outbreak. Your maintenance team should already be trained on how to properly maintain an area teeming with pathogens. Limited access to the location of infection should be implemented. These restrictions are only to be lifted once ample disinfection has been conducted and the area is once again a clean and safe aged facility.

To ensure that your policy is sufficient, it is best to consult commercial cleaning experts. Their advice and know-how can save lives – it is worth the extra step. 

Reduce Staff Interaction

In instances of outbreaks, the last thing you want is for your staff to be compromised. They are the individuals that would be taking care of the aged facility residents. They have to be healthy and in tip-top shape. 

Separate the employees that were exposed. Limit the interactions between them and those that do not exhibit symptoms. This way, those who were not exposed can service healthy residents. It is also a good idea to increase the use of protective equipment such as gloves and masks. 

Regardless of the scale of your operation, a clean and safe aged facility should always be a priority. With COVID-19 looming, it can be overwhelming to endeavor on commercial cleaning alone. To ensure that your facility remains in tip-top shape, it is in your best interest to opt for the help of professionals. We at Burgos Cleaning are eager to help. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services!