Co-Founder, Niche Jobs
Do you know how to prevent and respond to bad cases of viral infection in your care home? In early April this year, five pensioners living at a Scottish nursing home died within 2 days of each other from flu infections. Don't let it happen in your care home.
Flu viruses are often manageable but, in some cases, are absolutely deadly. This is more likely when the infected individuals are elderly, young or otherwise physically or mentally ill with compromised immune systems.
There are several things you can do to ensure best practice when combating infection in care homes; Learn how infections spread, learn how they can be combated and learn the habits of best practice that promote prevention. For more information and details, consult the Department of Health or NHS information resources online.
How infections spread
Infections occurs when bacteria move from one part of the body to another; from one body or object to another (such as a dirty bedpan or contaminated food); through the air; from faecal matter or via fluids and blood.
How to combat infection
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Don't have communal moisturizers, towels or bar soap. Don't wash your hands in food preparation areas or places where you clean commodes and bedpans.
Use alcohol disinfectant rub on clean hands; don't bother if your hands are visibly dirty. If things aren't cleaned properly first, you may not be able to disinfect them. Cleaning and disinfecting are different processes and the latter relies upon the former.
Don't wear jewellery on your hands and wrists as it will harbour germs. If you really must indicate your marital status, just wear your plain wedding band. Check all pre-packaged sterile equipment is still sealed before you use it.
Best practice to prevent infection
Always wash your hands and source protective equipment before any personal or physical procedure (be careful of service user allergies, e.g. latex). Always cover cuts, abrasions and sores with the appropriate dressings.
Launder blood-stained items separately. Dispose of sharps carefully in a box fit for purpose. General housekeeping, laundry services and waste disposal must be of the absolute highest and most rigorous standards with clearly defined schedules.