How To Prevent Outbreaks From Getting Out
Of Control In Elder Care Facilities

Whenever an outbreak occurs, it puts immense pressure on everyone in the facility.

Staff have extra workload, families get fractious because they can’t visit, residents get upset because they can’t see families and may be isolated and managers become stressed.

While outbreaks are a fact of life with so many viruses around, the key is to prevent them from occurring when possible.

And if an outbreak does occur, get the virus under control quickly.

So how can you get it under control? This can only be achieved by staff training.

Get More Info: How To Stop Infections In Care Facilities

There Are No Shortcuts

You don’t even need to know what the offending organism is for it to be an outbreak.

You only need to have 3 or more cases of a similar set of symptoms. That is all.

Which means you need to be vigilant in your training.

Everyone that works, lives or comes into your facility needs to know and understand infection control practices applicable to their level of involvement in the facility.

You also need to ensure they adhere to them rigidly.  This will reduce your risk of an outbreak.

Who do you need to focus on?

Obviously there is the care staff but it also includes laundry personnel, cleaners, kitchen and food handlers, gardeners, maintenance people and all visitors.

Bugs stick to surfaces like hands, equipment, clothing (including uniforms), walls, hand rails, computer keyboards, telephones, hand basins, benches – this list goes on.

Don’t become complacent with cleanliness.  Keeping all areas of your facility clean will reduce the risk of an outbreak. And if one does occur, early intervention and containment is the key.

So How Can You Do This?

Ensure everyone who works in the facility is trained in your practices and they know what to do on an ongoing basis.

All new staff receive training from the first day on the job, not just somewhere in their orientation program.

Put information in your admission packet so families know their obligations and what to do to help keep themselves and others safe.

Reinforce your policies and expectations in your newsletter on a regular basis.

Keep people informed on the results of internal audits and review often.

There is no end to the list of ways you can keep people informed.

Education Is Your Insurance Policy

If you want to reduce your workload and avoid an outbreak then you have to invest your time in training.

There are no shortcuts to preventing an outbreak. Taking shortcuts will only short out your system.

Keep it in the front of your mind at all times. Do regular audits on hand washing and cleanliness. Record, review and report on results.

Be proud of reducing the risk of infections to everyone in your facility.

Become the infection control police so when an outbreak occurs you immediately become the detective to figure out why an outbreak occurred and begin getting the virus under control.

Research reports that when an outbreak hits there was often a breakdown in infection control procedures.

So you need to keep you, your staff, residents and visitors safe by keeping them informed and educated in infection control procedures and your expectation of them when working or coming into your facility.

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