There is an ongoing pandemic that has been proven to harm and even kill many people. Researchers have found that the elderly are particularly susceptible to the COVID-19 virus that caused the epidemic. This is because they often have weaker immune systems, so they can’t fight off a viral infection easily.
This new situation puts nursing homes in a delicate position since their residents are already senior citizens. To compound the problem, many elderly residents may already be managing existing illnesses or medical conditions. Thus, nursing home staff have to create plans to protect everyone in their facility from COVID-19. For questions about specific laws governing COVID-19 infection in nursing homes, it’s also advisable to contact experts like The Dominguez Firm’s Coronavirus lawyers for advising.
Here is how nursing home staff can prevent COVID-19 infection.
- Develop An Infection Control And Prevention (ICP) Program. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there should be at least one staff member whose full-time duty is to set up and implement an around-the-clock ‘infection control and prevention’ program. Its aim should be to protect residents and the healthcare staff on duty from any possible COVID-19 infection.
- Educate Staff, Residents, And Visitors About ICP Program Needs And Practices. The ICP program is meant to protect nursing home staff and residents from any possible sources of infection, such as visitors of the residents. At the same time, if any resident or staff member already has COVID-19, the rules of the ICP will protect visitors from contamination as well.
- Implement Standard Infection Prevention Practices Recommended By The CDC. There are threeprimary practices that residents, staff, and visitors should observe while within the nursing home premises. These are: wear adequate protective gear such as hospital-grade face masks, keep hands sanitized either by washing with soap and water, or by using hand sanitizers such as alcohol, and for the staff to wear personal protective equipment (also known as PPEs). If these are followed, this may help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the nursing home.
- Test Residents And Staff Of Nursing Home For Possible COVID-19 Infection. The residents and the staff of the nursing home must be tested for the virus as soon as possible. It will help determine if someone in the facility has to be isolated from the rest of the residents and staff. However, there might be residents who will refuse to be tested. Others might not be able to get tested due to ongoing care and treatment for other illnesses or disorders, while some could be unconscious at the time. These situations also need to be taken into consideration.
- Determine Correct Protocol If Residents Or Staff Test Positive For COVID-19. A resident or a staff member may already be infected before the development of the ICP program. If so, all other residents and staff should be regularly checked and tested for possible symptoms. To make up for the absence of key personnel, the rest of the team should be classified according to who is ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ to avoid the deterioration of healthcare services provided to the residents. The staff who will be on duty may have to take extra shifts while the infected ones undergo quarantine procedures.
- Maintain Adequate Supplies Of PPEs And Hand Sanitizers For The Staff On Duty. The remaining staff must have enough PPEs to carry out their duties without fear of infecting residents. This means that a daily check of PPEs should be maintained, and supplies should be replenished as soon as they run low. This also applies to alcohol and soap supplies.
- Implement Daily Disinfection Of Nursing Home Facilities. The maintenance staff should be designated as ‘essential’ workers since they need to sanitize the nursing home on a daily basis. Sometimes, some areas need to be cleaned more often, such as when the residents accidentally soil themselves, their beds, or the furniture around the facility. Frequently touched objects within the nursing home, such as doorknobs, light switches, and faucets, need to be disinfected more regularly than other surfaces.
Though this pandemic seems to be very persistent and difficult to control, nursing home residents and staff could avoid getting infected by following the correct anti-viral treatment protocols issued by the CDC.
Much remains to be known about this particular virus. However, it’s possible to survive an infection of COVID-19. If you have relatives or friends who are residents or staff of nursing homes, it’s important to avoid visiting them for now, until the pandemic’s curve has flattened and becomes less of a threat.
About the Author: Candy Rivers
Candy Rivers is a successful writer who often shares content online through her blog and guest posts. Most of Candy’s articles talk about employee safety, weight loss, and nutrition.