Why preventing a super spreader event in aged care is essential

Aged Care | 30/05/2022

Aged care residents are much more vulnerable than the general population. An infection, such as COVID, could place them on bed rest and have serious repercussions. This blog addresses the importance of avoiding a superspreader in aged care settings and the cleaning protocols to do so.

Off the back end of COVID19, it became evident how quickly viruses and Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) can spread in healthcare facilities, particularly those that are poorly ventilated or at full capacity. However, one of the most devastating impacts reported was how quickly the elderly, especially those in aged care settings, could fall ill due to infected carers and visitors passing on the virus. 

For those who may already be experiencing issues with their health, such as weakened organs, cancer, memory problems or chronic conditions, the threat of COVID19 placed a large amount of pressure on aged care citizens and their families. 

As the danger of the Omicron variant lessens day by day, this doesn't present an opportunity for aged care owners and managers to slacken their cleaning protocols. Other fast-spreading infections, such as influenza and gastro, which were scarcely mentioned over the past three years, are likely to resurface as COVID begins to diminish. In fact, it has already been predicted that 2022 will be one of the worst Influenza seasons so far. So, workers, staff and other citizens in the aged care facility must be acting proactively to avoid an outbreak. 

Some reasons why preventing superspreaders is essential in aged care settings include: 

It can deteriorate the health of the elderly

As mentioned above, many residents in aged care settings are experiencing health issues that they can’t manage on their own or that their families cannot help to manage. This usually means that they are already in poor health and require significant care to help keep them feeling as healthy as possible. This will then encourage interaction with fellow residents and staff at the facilities, activities and amenities are on offer at the centre and within the community, which are essential for a good aged care experience.

Specific infections are known to target different organs in the body. For example, the COVID virus is known to impact the lungs, whereas a gastro virus impedes the digestive system. In this, patients who have weaker organs or are less able to recover after certain illnesses may see a downturn in their health. In severe cases, this can lead to growing mortality rates across the aged care centre, a growth in uncertainty and a decrease in reputation. 

To keep the elderly safe, preventing super spreader events is the best method. While some may still contract infections, taking care to clean all rooms and surfaces effectively can guarantee that the spread is minimised. Using Hygen Commercial Microfibre cloths and an approved cleaning solution on beds, wheelchairs, tables, and other high-contact surfaces can prevent spreading infection and keep the elderly safe. Though it can be complicated to clean around aged care citizens, it is vital to clean rooms diligently to avoid outbreaks and preserve the health of all citizens. 

As such, cleaning checklists should cover all surfaces and touchpoints, including the floors. Using the appropriate Hygen Equipment and Microfibre Mops can ensure that cleaning and caring staff can complete this process quickly and efficiently while simultaneously guaranteeing that they have eliminated any potentially dangerous bacteria. 

If a patient is noticeably sick, implementing social distancing methods and ventilation on top of cleaning protocols can help the infection from spreading beyond control. 

It avoids putting excess pressure on staff

Aged care staff have a lot of responsibilities. And as shown in the media, staff usually work extended hours and take on extra patients to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. Having a super spreader event take place in an aged care facility can also impede the health and wellbeing of staff. This can increase sick days and extend the responsibilities of staff who are well enough to be working the floor. 

The over-exerted staff members will also need to take on more clients during this time, which can further spread the virus as potentially asymptomatic staff members will have more touchpoints across the entire facility. As shown through the impacts of COVID, it is in poorly socially distanced environments that more elderly fall ill. 

Though preventing these outbreaks through frequent handwashing and cleaning protocols are the most resolute solutions, if staff shortages occur during the winter or flu season, management must be encouraging good ventilation in all rooms. This can be done by opening windows and doors to help airborne viruses move out of high-traffic spaces.

Working to keep aged care centres safe 

Aged care centres have unfortunately developed a poor reputation over the past few years, especially due to negative media coverage off the back of COVID19. However, by focusing closely on cleanliness and high degrees of care, these facilities can restore their reputation and show the community that they are a high-value business that prioritises patient care. To expedite this re-alignment of perceptions, aged care centres must implement the best cleaning methods across all rooms, common areas and surfaces. This will help prevent sick days and reduce mortality rates at the fault of the facility. 

When looking for cleaning equipment that provides only the best results, aged care owners and managers can always trust Rubbermaid Commercial Products. Made to the highest industry standards, they will help reduce infections on all types of surfaces to promote a cleaner environment. Contact the team today to organise a free sample of a microfibre cloth or browse through the aged care solutions that may assist your organisation to achieve a higher level of cleanliness.  

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