Senior Health Issues – Avoiding Infections in a Rehab Setting

Senior health and well-being is paramount in any institution for seniors. Among senior health issues is the topic of avoiding infection among patients, who have chosen to recuperate in any rehabilitation setting. It is imperative to choose a top star-rated rehabilitation location for yourself or a loved one, such as Brookhaven Center for Rehabilitation and Care is, as shall be shown in this article.

Recuperating Seniors

The positive focus in a rehabilitation setting is on the programs that the patients are following. Therapies, activities and rehab schedules takes the lion’s share of time and effort among the staff and patients. Progress is celebrated, and for good reason.  The recuperation of a senior following a fall or a debilitating illness is a great achievement.

No less important, is the matter of avoiding infection or contamination by maintaining scrupulous hygiene practices. The onus is both on the side of the rehabilitation center and among the patients. The main point is – avoiding infections of any type.

Why are Seniors more Susceptible to Infections?

Being elderly does not mean that a person will have an infectious disease, however, as people age physiological changes take place, making an older person more at risk for infection.

Infectious diseases are to blame for the majority of hospital admissions among older adults.

Some Reasons for Increase of Risk of Infection Among Seniors:

  • Senescence in the immune system – deterioration of the immune system due to age.
  • Skin and mucosal barrier changes – these natural barriers are meant to keep out infection when they function optimally
  • Degeneration of bone and cartilage
  • Reduced efficiency of the delicate parts of the respiratory system
  • Infections due to application of devices such as catheters, pacemakers
  • Vaccines become less effective due to the changes in the immune system
  • Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen (harmful type of bacteria) that can cause serious illness if it affects those with a weak immune system
  • Latent infections are those that stay dormant in the body and at that time are not infectious. They can become reactivated and cause disease
  • Co-morbidities that are commonly found in seniors, such as pulmonary diseases

Why the Concern for Residents in Institutions?

Older adults who are in institutional care, whether or not by their own choice, are exposed to multidrug-resistant organisms, which are types of ‘super-bacteria’ requiring more powerful medicinal treatment. The residents often share space, as happens during common activities such as meals or recreation. Hygiene is a much greater issue, due to the larger number of people in an enclosed space, and the reliance on cleaning staff to maintain building cleanliness. The patients themselves are, unfortunately, sometimes limited in their ability to perform activities of daily living, such as those in the personal hygiene category. These conditions together add to the risk of infection. Another term that could be applied is ‘nosocomial infection’, which are infections located in a place. It is a problem that can be found in hospitals and nursing homes.

Finally, patients in the senior age bracket, who are in recovery after illness or injury, are generally at greater risk than most seniors, due to the reasons mentioned above.

The Need for Top Quality Service

Unfortunately, there are many reports of sub-standard practices in institutions. That is why a person must do their due diligence for the location they intend to use. Each aspect of the service should be researched. The necessity to find out about how successful the rehab treatments are, goes without saying. This article encourages digging a little deeper. Show your interest in the less obvious details, such as those that we could call ‘infection-intelligent strategies awareness’. A child of an elderly parent should be comfortable to ask about these important points, because they matter so much.

A future article will discuss infection-intelligent strategies awareness that should be followed responsibly by the different groups, staff, residents and visitors of a rehabilitation center.

All out favorite maxims and mottos regarding prevention, could be applied to the topic of avoiding infections in a rehabilitation center, or nursing home for that matter. It is one of the most important senior health issues in that setting. With each person taking responsibility for themselves, the common goal will become easier to achieve.


Senior health issues - close the door on infection!

Original Photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash

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