More than 5 million Americans are admitted to or reside in a range of long term care, senior living, or assisted living facilities each year. These patients and residents consider their facility their home and rely on it for their well being and safety. But the typical demographic makeup of long term care, nursing home, and assisted living facilities present unique challenges to infection control. Older residents, along with those that likely have underlying health concerns, require more protection from pathogens that cause life-threatening illness.
According to the CDC, 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year in these senior facilities. Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death; as many as 380,000 people die of the infections in LTCFs every year. Now more than ever it is critical that long term care facilities ensure that infectious diseases do not spread from surface to surface, room to room, floor to floor, and between residents.
Infection Prevention Strategies & Tools
The threat of harmful pathogens is found throughout any long term care facility. To fight these pathogens, all disinfection strategies need to reach throughout the entire facility as well. It is vital to come up with a bundled facility disinfection plan that incorporates multiple infection prevention tools, is easy to implement, is comprehensive, and effective.
Your first line of defense is hand washing, which is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections at a long term care facility. Incorporating signage on the importance of hand washing throughout the facility in places visible to staff, residents, and visitors is an easy first step to take. Many infection preventionists recommend a “clean in, clean out” approach, wherein hands and equipment are cleaned or disinfected on the way into the resident’s room or common areas and on the way out again.
Manual cleaning and disinfection is a key element of a bundled infection prevention approach. A care facility is very likely to have disease causing pathogens in the environment given the volume of residents, prevalence of sicker people, and the pace of activities within the space. Effective cleaning with an EPA approved disinfectant of environmental surfaces and patient care equipment is a fundamental piece in breaking the chain of infection. In reducing environmental bioburden, potential contribution to the incidence of healthcare-associated infections is decreased.
Cleaning and disinfection will reduce, but often does not eliminate, dangerous pathogens. This is where a bundled approach that includes UVC disinfection becomes an essential tool.
Why UV Light Disinfection for Your Long Term Care Facility?
Studies have confirmed that UVC light is an effective addition to manual cleaning efforts and can kill harmful pathogens quickly and efficiently. Exposure to UVC light for a specific length of time and intensity kills dangerous microorganisms. The American Journal of Infection Control notes that combining UVC technology with manual cleaning is one of the most effective ways to significantly decrease the pool of harmful pathogens that cause infection.
The RD UVC system can be deployed throughout long term care, nursing home, and assisted living facilities. It can supply proper dosing to all points of interest in both common and personal resident spaces. In addition, RD UVC is the only UVC disinfection system that measures, records and reports the UVC dosage delivered—in real-time—ensuring you have the proof of compliance data needed for potential government reporting and communication to residents and their families. RD UVC uses proven, patented remote sensors throughout a room that measure and ensure delivery of published UVC doses at all points of disinfection every time.
Reduce Infections, Increase Savings, Support Residents
Employing a UVC disinfection system in a long term care facility or nursing home can combat the spread of dangerous infections, leading to better resident care and long-term saving for the facility. It can:
- Act as an adjunct to manual cleaning to help reduce the pool of pathogens present in the residential environment
- Lessen the human error factor by delivering proven, measured doses of UV light to eradicate pathogens
- Proactively reduce the additional costs incurred with treating infections and diseases among residents
- Reduce post-infection cleaning service costs by preventing infection spread vs. addressing an outbreak
- Improve resident care and loved ones’ confidence in the facility
All long term care teams – facilities, direct care, and leadership – play a critical role in infection control efforts. Administrators are responsible for establishing disinfection protocols and providing the tools and resources to get the job done efficiently while taking less time and consuming fewer resources. Facilities teams are on the front lines to deploy infection prevention measures that reduce the spread of HAIs through cleaning and disinfection measures. Direct care staff can make a significant impact by working with residents to educate and monitor sanitation practices that reduce the spread of diseases. Regardless of job title, each employee should know proper infection prevention procedures. Long term care facility staff that handles specialized equipment, such as UVC disinfection systems, should be properly versed in their use to maximize their effectiveness. Together long term care team collaboration and a bundled approach to infection prevention is the best way to positively affect the lives of residents living in these facilities.
Ready to put the power of UVC disinfection to work in your long term care, nursing home, and assisted living facilities?
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