As we slowly navigate from the present COVID-19 restrictions we have lived under in recent months, COVID-19 infection incidents in care homes are coming down.
It is important to note that older adults and also people of any age with serious underlying medical ailments are at higher risk for developing more severe illness from COVID-19.
Severe illness means that the individual with COVID-19 may need to be hospitalized, put in intensive care or need a ventilator to help them breathe
Even though there have been examples of COVID-19 infections and COVID related deaths in care homes, massive vaccination of stakeholder in care homes has offered every stakeholder in care homes the opportunity to have a vaccine. Old people (aged over 80), who develop COVID-19 infection and have been vaccinated, have a much lower risk of dying from the virus.
Below are some ways for preventing Covid19 in care homes:
1 Keep using best practices for infection control – social distancing, hand washing, and appropriate PPE
Visiting in care homes should be enabled through the use of testing (either IgM Antibody home visit test or PCR Swab home visit test), the right use of PPE, and other infection prevention and control (IPC) measures.
Care homes could also employ the use of the lateral flow device (LFD). The LFD entry testing is very effective at detecting those who are actively infected with a high viral load and are most likely to spread infection.
We understand that a negative test alone may not be sufficient proof against transmission of infection this is why appropriate PPE and IPC measures remain so important.
2 Restricting visits
Allowing access to patients by a named single visitor is also part of the infection control measures to be taken.
Keeping numbers of visitors low for now will give caregivers confidence about future moves to increase numbers as they learn more about the impact of visiting on the risk of outbreaks and understand more about the protective impact of vaccines on disease transmission.
For every visit, the named visitor will need to have a test which will help indicate if he/she has COVID-19.
The named visitor will also need to wear appropriate PPE and follow all other infection control measures (like washing hands, sanitizing and masking up), which the care home will provide advice and guidance on.
3 Testing of caregivers.
This cannot be overemphasized. Caregivers are not only advised to carry out habitual tests but also ensure they follow all Covid preventive protocols both with the care home and outside it.
Also, all caregivers need to be vaccinated as the vaccination of staff plays a crucial role in reducing infection.
4 Creation of delineation zones
For a care home, a clear delineation of zones of risk for the entire building should be created. This would help care providers and administrators in differentiating between contaminated areas and clean areas. It could be reinforced by putting disinfection and sanitation equipment across each area. It could also be reinforced through staff allocation and rotation.
Need to know more about home visit tests like the IgM Antibody Home Visit Test and PCR Swab Home Visit Test?