Can we prevent infection among seniors?
What techniques are commonly used in senior healthcare to avoid contagion?
Let’s take a look at everyday methods we should use to prevent the spread of infection. An intelligent attitude to preventing infection means, being aware of where infection lurks, and applying strategies that promote eradication of fiendish germs.
A previous article set forth the importance of Avoiding Infections in a Rehab Setting. The reasons for increased risk of infection among seniors were discussed.
A Personal Obligation
For each person, it could be said that there are two parts to avoiding infection.
The first part is within a person. Each person should do what they can done do to boost their immune system so that it is as healthy and works as efficiently as possible. In that way they will get the best out of the senior healthcare that is provided.
The second part is external to a person. Each person should interact responsibly with other people and behave responsibly in their environment. In that way, senior healthcare practices will be most efficient and safest. This second part is the topic of this article.
Since there are three main groups of people located in or going through the rehabilitation center, residents, visitors and staff. This article presents advice for two categories: residents & visitors and the location itself for which the staff has responsibility.
This article is for information purposes only. Individuals should be sure to follow their own health plans as recommended by their doctor.
It is important for residents and visitors to practice:
- Wash the hands before and after taking care of an ill person, before eating, after using the bathroom, and after touching refuse. How? Wash hands using soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Washing the hands should take at least 30 seconds.
- After washing, dry the hands with a disposable towel or let them air dry.
- All disposable towels and tissues should be disposed of right away.
- Be sure to receive vaccines as the doctor recommends.
- Cover your face and mouth if you are in the vicinity of someone with an infectious illness.
- Don’t kiss on or near the face if you think that you or someone else has an infection.
- Protect cuts and sore or broken skin. The skin is an important feature of the body’s defense system against germs.
- Practice cleanliness and hygiene at a normal level, plus a little extra, to account for being in an environment with other seniors and other visitors. Coming into contact with so many people all the time means extra exposure, so additional precautions are advisable. Wash and cleanse clothes, utensils, fruit and vegetables and table surfaces, for example, and avoid infection.
- Keep fingernails short, and clean under the nails.
- Never walk barefoot in an institution, even if the floor looks clean.
- If while caring for a family member, you notice that there is a lack of personal hygiene, deal with it straight away if it is something small, otherwise bring it to the attention of the staff and make sure that it is attended to.
- Never bring a child to visit residents if the child is ill, even a slight cough can become a deadly virus for a senior.
It is important for the location to be:
- Spotlessly clean
- Hygienic – soap and sanitizer provided by every sink
- Tidy – everything in the right place
- Clear of obstructions and refuse
- Clear of unused medicines
- Food that is done with is cleared away without delay
- Well lit so a person can see that what they are eating or where they are sitting is sanitary
- Faucet and other facilities are non-touch operated, for example activated by infrared light or ultrasonic technology
- Carefully maintained – broken things are fixed right away
Everyone should keep posted as to:
- Health updates in the news regarding outbreaks of infectious disease.
- Food alerts and recalls in the news.
- New products that prevent the spread of infection.
- Search for apps that help keep on top of hygiene
- Read up about hygiene, clarifying what applies to your situation
Senior healthcare in a rehabilitation center needs the support of each and every one of us. It takes a joint effort to stop the spread of infection. Being aware of what we are doing and how we interact with our friends and family can breed good practices and boost health. Yes, we can prevent infections among seniors by using everyday best-health and hygiene practices.