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A blog from industry experts devoted to public health awareness, best practices, and the role of environmental cleaning and disinfection, to promote safer, healthier public spaces.The Need for Outbreak Prevention in Long-Term Care Facilities https://www.cloroxpro.ca/blog/the-need-for-outbreak-prevention-in-long-term-care-facilities/ April 5, 2020 August 19, 2020 https://www.cloroxpro.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Capture-2.png
The Need for Outbreak Prevention in Long-Term Care Facilities
As the population ages, the demand for elderly care is growing and most Canadians over 65 years of age are expected to need long-term care (LTC) facilities and services at some point in their lives.1
In 2014, over 6 million Canadians were aged 65 or older, representing 15.6 percent of Canada’s population. By 2030, seniors will number over 9.5 million and make up 23% of Canadians.2
Protecting our most vulnerable loved ones
With the increase of the LTC population comes an increasing need to prevent infections in LTC facilities, which historically have had high rates of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).3
Risk factors for LTC residents:3,4
- Communal living environment
- Advanced age
- Fragile or frail
- Complex and/or multiple chronic health conditions
- LTC facilities are limited in their ability to isolate residents with an infectious disease
- Cognitively impaired residents tend to wander
- Residents have considerable contact with environmental surfaces outside of their rooms such as in the dining hall, lounge or TV room, group activity areas and therapy areas
- Staff often have limited HAI training
- Limited capacity for oversight and infection control compared with acute care-based settings
LTC patients are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases, notably gastrointestinal infections and respiratory infection outbreaks, such as COVID-19.4 A growing number of LTC residents are becoming infected with COVID-19 and deaths are increasing.5
Take the necessary precautions
To help ensure effective infection prevention for LTC facilities, the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee (PIDAC) recommends:6
- Screening to identify residents with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and febrile respiratory illnesses (e.g., colds, influenza, pneumonia and COVID-19)
- Routine practices and infection-specific precautions: Proper hand hygiene; proper cleaning of resident rooms; use of personal protective equipment, such as gloves, long-sleeved gowns and face masks, when appropriate; isolation
- Immunization of residents and staff to prevent the acquisition of communicable diseases
- The judicious use of antibiotics to decrease the unnecessary use of antibiotics and to combat antibiotic resistance
- Surveillance: Tracking and analyzing infection data in order to take timely corrective action
Fighting the outbreak
Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, health authorities across Canada are significantly increasing infection prevention and control procedures. For example, the Ministry of Health in Ontario has issued the following guidance:7 LTC facilities should conduct active screening of all resident admissions, returning residents, re-admissions, and healthcare workers, students and volunteers. Only essential visitors should be permitted to enter and must continue to be actively screened in these settings. Those who fail screening should not be permitted to enter the LTC facility.
Additionally, hand hygiene is the single most important practice to reduce the transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings.4 This includes hand washing with either plain or antiseptic-containing soap and water, or the use of alcohol-based products (gels, rinses and foams) that do not require the use of water.
Your environmental infection control and prevention partners
CloroxPro™ offers multiple Health Canada-registered disinfectants based on three chemistries: hydrogen peroxide, Quat and bleach, to help meet your LTC facility’s unique needs. Several of these are expected to kill SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19).
For more information download our CloroxPro™ Facility Manager Guide.
- Gibbard, R. Sizing up the challenge: Meeting the demand for long-term care in Canada. Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada. 2017.
- Government of Canada – Action for Seniors report. www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/seniors-action-report.html. Accessed March 11, 2020.
- Infection prevention and control at long-term-care homes. 2009 Annual Report of the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario (Chapter 3, Section 3.06). http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/annualreports/arreports/en09/306en09.pdf. Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Nursing home or long-term care facility patients. Infectious Disease Advisor. https://www.infectiousdiseaseadvisor.com/home/decision-support-in-medicine/hospital-infection-control/nursing-home-or-long-term-care-facility-patients/. Accessed March 11, 2020.
- Information gap widens in Ontario as coronavirus sweeps through nursing homes. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-at-least-16-ontario-nursing-homes-have-covid-19-cases-yet-families/. Accessed March 27, 2020.
- Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee. Best practices for prevention, surveillance and infection control management of novel respiratory infections in all health care settings. 1st revision. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario; 2020.
- COVID-19 guidance: Long-term care homes. Ontario Ministry of Health. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_long_term_care_guidance.pdf. Accessed March 20, 2020.