People place a great amount of trust into nursing homes when they admit elderly family members. Whether they need specific medical care or can no longer live on their own, the sanitary conditions of the establishment are vital for the health of residents and must be top priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults who are aged 65 years or older are more susceptible to illnesses and infections. It is estimated that 1-3 million serious infections occur in nursing homes and cause 380,000 patients to pass away each year. Unfortunately, when staff and resources are limited, hygiene standards are often the first responsibilities to be overlooked.
Keep Hands Clean
Training employees about hand and surface hygiene will help facilities to avoid issues with compliance. All healthcare workers must wash their hands before and after tending patients and touching catheters, wounds, respiratory devices, and patient skin, body fluids, and mucous membranes.
Less than 50% of nursing home employees follow their facility’s hand hygiene procedures; however, a study by the CDC found that providing employees with options, such as sanitizer, and soap and water, improved compliance.
Automatic, wall-mounted hand sanitizer is a fast and effective option for staff too. An alcohol-free formula that takes 15 seconds to kill 99.99% of germs is a gentle, non-drying option for repetitive use. Individuals can easily clean their hands as they walk to their next patient.
Sanitizing surfaces is necessary in reducing the spread of illnesses, as people on average pick up 30-50% of the organisms on any surface they touch. Keeping high-touch areas hygienic in patients’ rooms is just as important. Making surface sanitizing wipes available in patient rooms and common areas of the facility allows employees to quickly wipe down an area that may be contaminated. Wipes that kill a wide range of viruses and bacteria in one application will be the most effective option for reducing the spread of germs. However, the formula needs to be safe to use around elderly patients too and should not include ingredients like bleach and alcohol.
Keep Kitchens Germ-Free
Older adults living in nursing homes are ten times more likely to die from bacterial gastroenteritis than the general population. Underlying health conditions among this population increase the risk of foodborne illnesses becoming serious. Wall-mounted automatic dispensers of surface sanitizer approved for food-contact surfaces will eliminate cross-contamination and keep food-contact surfaces safe. In any commercial kitchen, food handlers are required to wash and then sanitize surfaces every time different ingredients are going to be prepared.
Bacterial hazards are not the only threats to patients, as environmental factors, such as wet floors, can be harmful too and cause an estimated 27% of falls. Commonly wet places, like restrooms and shower areas should be equipped to prevent these accidents. Absorbent, non-slip mats around toilets, outside of showers, and underneath urinals, water fountains, and sinks will prevent water from creating puddles and causing slip-and-fall accidents.
Nursing home residents are particularly prone to sicknesses, infections, and injuries. Facilities need to be prepared and employees must be trained to counter these risks. As hygiene standards can become overlooked, scheduling regular service to maintain appliances and keep dispensers full, among other responsibilities, can be an effective way to support your in-house staff in fulfilling these necessities.