How To Prevent Infections And The Spread Of Diseases In Care Homes
Residents living in care homes tend to be more susceptible to infections than the general population, usually because of their age and other associated health issues. When a high number of older individuals live in close proximity, such as in a care home, it is therefore essential to maintain an excellent level of hygiene to prevent infections and the spread of disease.
Regulations for the minimum standards expected for care home hygiene have been established and are set out by different regulatory bodies for each country within the UK. If there is an outbreak within a care home, the regulatory body should be informed, and they will then provide advice and offer help for carers on how to prevent further spread of infection.
Hand hygiene is the most effective means of combating the spread of infection. Hands should be washed properly with soap and water, with the addition of an alcohol-based hand rub if needed.
Hands should always be washed before and after assisting with a resident’s personal needs, handling food, after removing disposable gloves and before leaving the care home.
Within a care home there are many areas that can become contaminated with microorganisms, and these need to be thoroughly cleaned to help prevent infections. A general-purpose detergent can be used to clean surfaces, and the environment should be maintained in a state that is clean, dry and clear of clutter.
Equipment should be cleaned after being used by different residents, such as baths and wheelchairs. Cleaning should take place according to manufacturer’s instructions for each detergent/disinfectant, and any item marked for single use only should be effectively disposed of.
Benefits of a Hygienic Environment
Maintaining a hygienic environment will help prevent infections and disease and lower the assault of microorganisms on individuals who are likely to have impaired immune systems, such as the elderly, therefore keeping the residents safe. It will also help prevent the movement of a disease in or out of the home through visitors and staff. A clean, odour-free environment is a far more pleasant place in which to live, work or visit, and will improve the experience for all concerned.