Infection Prevention In Care Homes

Protecting Care Homes From Infection

If you are involved in the care business – whether that involves being based in a care home, or helping patients in their own homes to cope with their conditions – then you will be aware that one of the biggest threats to the well being of a patient, is that of infection.

Infection is what happens when another organism gets into a human (or another organism for that matter) and uses it’s host for nourishment, and a place to multiply. This is only an infection however, if the organism begins to cause harm to the host organism.

Some of the common types pathogen which can be the cause of infection include fungus; bacteria; parasites and virons. People regularly pick up infections, however they are often easily fought off. Those with weakened immune systems, are less likely to be able to fight infection, and this often the case in the elderly in care homes as they have a variety of other conditions making them less able to fight. Therefore it is important to have solid practices of infection prevention in place.

Means Of Infection Prevention

Some ways that can help prevent infections in care homes include:

-          Stringent Hand Washing – hand washing is an important part of infection prevention, whether it is in a care environment, in the medical profession or in catering. Having a stringent hand washing routine, that involves high quality anti bacterial soap and a method of hand washing which will ensure that all areas where germs can breed are dealt with.

-          Hand Gel – hand rubs and hand gels are another important part of infection control. These are anti-bacterial gels that kill the vast majority of germs and bacteria, meaning that transfer is less likely from surface to surface or from person to person.

-          Protective clothing – another way to protect yourself and those in your care from infection in care homes, is to use protective over clothing. This can take a range of forms, gloves; aprons and face masks being primary examples. These are often disposable single use items which don’t allow for the growth of bacteria

-          Uniforms – medical and care uniforms are designed so that they are simple and provide a limited amount of places for bacteria to multiply and are easily washable as well as being low cost – meaning that they are not going to be kept for a long time past their best and infection can be avoided

Other Methods Of Infection Control

Alongside these methods, the most effective way to ensure that infection is kept to a minimum, is to instil a stringent cleaning routine, in order to prevent any spread and growth of bacteria. Keeping all areas where your residents are likely to be clean and hygienic is one major factor. Whether you do this in house or employ cleaners, it is important to identify risk areas and dedicate additional cleaning time to these.

Disposal of waste is also another vital factor, so that you don’t have any by-products of your activities lying around that will potentially cause infection or allow for the breeding and multiplication of germs. This is even more the case in terms of safe appropriate disposal of things such as sharps, medical waste and incontinence products.