Now the UK is commencing the ease of lockdown measures among other simple pleasures, like the kids going back to school, care homes are now allowing one regular visitor for each resident.
This is all great news and signs that we are approaching the light at the end of this long… long tunnel. However, there are things to be aware of now we are opening back up our care homes to the public.
A rise in year-round infections
With government and healthcare focussing on COVID-19 and keeping it at bay, visitors will require to be tested beforehand and the wearing of PPE will be enforced.
A concern that may not be at the forefront of our minds, is the other infections that occur year-round. These infections may start to return to care homes as a result of these visits. Care homes are at risk from infectious diseases and need to protect from them such as:
- Winter vomiting
- Chest Infections
For example, more than 50% of people who come into contact with norovirus end up contracting it. If someone comes into your care home with this you can see the likelihood for a potential outbreak.
Dr Susan Hopkins warns of a potentially hard winter ahead caused by a lack of built-up immunity after a year of minimal flu transmissions due to all the social distancing measures for COVID. Dr Hopkins has said the NHS must be "ready" for surges in flu and other similar illnesses.
All of these are potentially fatal to the vulnerable residents that live within our care homes. Failure to acknowledge the likelihood that we will see a significant rise in these diseases as lockdown measures continue to ease would be negligent.
How are you tracking infection prevention?
The means exist for care homes to equip themselves with mHealth applications that can help alert and identify carers when a potential outbreak may be occurring in their care homes.
“Gather Care brings together the care home community. As an operator I was refreshed by the simplicity of the system and the minimal amount of time it required for data input. In our view, this product is an inexpensive solution that can help avoid the substantial costs from an outbreak at a care home.”
The Renovo Group are a great example of a care home group taking initiative and engaging a proactive solution, during the crisis that was last year. The Renovo Group care home, Swanborough House was equipped with a vital daily tool to track, trace and monitor infectious outbreaks that could cause harm to their residents or closure to further admissions.
If you’d like to take back control of infection prevention in your care homes then get in touch with us today.
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