Controlling COVID Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

Controlling COVID Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc throughout the world. Many families have lost loved ones, and an unprecedented number of businesses have been forced to close. One of the most vulnerable groups, though — elderly adults over the age of 65 — have been hit particularly hard. Individuals in this demographic are far more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, especially if they are not vaccinated. This poses a problem for nursing homes that are largely populated with 65+ residents. How should the spread of COVID-19 be prevented in nursing homes? If you want to minimize COVID risk in nursing homes, follow these four tips.

Keep Supplies Well-Stocked

There are several specific supplies that can massively reduce the spread of COVID-19. The most important of these are alcohol-based hand sanitizer and medical-grade face masks. Alcohol-based sanitizers are important because it can kill the COVID-19 virus on contact, thus minimizing its ability to spread. Medical-grade face masks are vital because they prevent the spread of bodily fluids that may contain the virus. Both of these supplies should be kept in supply at a nursing home.

Adhere to Quarantine Requirements

Even with all of the appropriate preventative measures, it’s possible for an outbreak to occur. COVID-19 is highly contagious, which is part of the reason it’s so dangerous in facilities such as nursing homes. Nursing home risk management guidelines demand that all residents adhere to quarantine requirements if they test positive or are exposed to a COVID infection. These guidelines vary, but the Center for Disease Control recommends a minimum isolation period of ten days following a positive test or exposure.

Educate Residents About Prevention

One of the biggest risk factors in spreading COVID-19 is the prevalence of misinformation regarding how it is spread! Many people are unaware of basic precautions, and as a result, they may become vulnerable to the disease. In order to combat this problem, nursing homes should regularly remind residents about the basic tenets of prevention such as wearing masks, sanitizing hands, and social distancing. This can massively reduce unnecessary risks and encourage all residents to practice precaution. Residents should be reminded of these principles on a daily basis in order to ensure they understand.

Always Communicate Exposures

In the event that an outbreak occurs—or a single positive test emerges—it’s imperative that all staff members be immediately informed of the situation. Another common risk factor in the spread of COVID-19 is the lack of communication regarding exposures. A resident who tests positive should be isolated to the greatest extent possible, and staff members who interact with them should be stringent in disinfecting themselves before interacting with other patients. This is vital to stopping any further spread.

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