Infections can spread in any environment, however residents and clients in care facilities are more vulnerable to infections, due to a number of reasons including their age, current medications, weakened immune systems and chronic medical conditions. Clients in care centres share air, space, food and equipment, and as such, they also share organisms that can easily cause infections such as viruses and bacteria. At Cleaning Edge Solutions, we are experts in aged care, childcare and medical centre cleaning, so we understand that germs can spread quickly and have a severe impact on clients. Let’s take a look at infection outbreaks and how to prevent them through proper hygienic cleaning practices.
What is an infection outbreak?
An infection outbreak can be defined as:
- Two or more people with the same infection caused by the same organism who probably acquired the organism in the same place
- More people than you would expect with the same infection
Types of infection outbreaks in care homes
The most common types of disease outbreaks in care homes are respiratory infections (often caused by influenza viruses), and gastrointestinal infections. Skin, urinary tract, and bloodstream infections are also common. Infection outbreaks can occur in care homes because:
- Vulnerable residents have frequent contact with staff, other residents, visitors and the environment.
- The immune system of vulnerable residents can be easily overwhelmed.
How do infections spread?
There are many ways infections can spread, some of the most common include:
Through physical contact – when a person touches, or is touched by, someone or something that is contaminated with an infectious agent.
Through droplets – when the infectious agent is spread by droplets caused by coughing or sneezing.
By airborne infection – when a person directly inhales the exhaled breath of an infected person.
By airborne dissemination – when the infectious agent is disseminated in the air – for example, during bed-making or dressing changes.
Through ingestion – when a person eats contaminated food or water.
Infection prevention and control
Infections can spread rapidly within environments where many people are living and eating in close quarters. Due to the vulnerability of the people in care facilities, the spread of infection within care homes is particularly dangerous. Care homes must maintain rigorous standards of infection prevention and control to provide residents with a clean and safe environment.
Common Precautionary Measures Include:
- Reinforcing hygiene and cleaning measures, including regular deep cleaning for all common touch points
- Isolation of residents with infection
- Heightened observation of residents to identify new cases of infection
- Postponing of visitors, outside trips or new admissions
- Proper documentation and communication
- Recording of all information on the outbreak including resident details, onset date, symptoms and action taken
- Ongoing staff training and professional development on the latest best practice infection prevention and control
The importance of proper cleaning in reducing the spread of infection
Adherence to good practice in relation to cleaning and hygiene has been shown to reduce the risk of infection to clients, residents and staff in care home facilities. In these facilities, all common touch objects and surfaces such as doorknobs, taps, remote controls and light switches, must be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected frequently. Deep cleaning involves the removal of dirt and soil, while sanitizing reduces germs, and disinfection involves removing as many germs as possible. The use of cleaning agents such as bleach, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide are used to disinfect a wide range of surfaces and objects in hospitals and care homes.
Care facilities have a higher risk of infection outbreak and spread than almost anywhere else. This means that commercial cleaning companies must be aware of the cleaning, health and safety standards set by the federal and state governments and other governing authorities. If you are looking for a professional, experienced and complaint company to clean a care home facility, contact the team at Cleaning Edge Solutions today.