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June 2021

What is the best air purification system for care homes?

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Hygiene and COVID-19, Air Quality

Nursing homes and frail care facilities need to ensure the highest quality of indoor air, given the vulnerability of their residents. Read our latest blog post to find out why VIRUSKILLER™ is the best air purification solution for elderly care and nursing homes. 

Elderly care, nursing homes, and frail care facilities are places for the elderly and infirm to live in comfort and with dignity, and, given the vulnerability of their residents, every care should be taken to ensure the safety of these facilities. However, one hygiene challenge has up until now remained unresolved - and until recently was nearly impossible to overcome: the quality of indoor air.

High concentrations of harmful airborne pathogens

While most untreated indoor spaces have high levels of air pollution, many elderly care and nursing home facilities have truly distressing concentrations of harmful airborne pathogens. These concentrations can — and often do — far exceed international standards for acceptability and safety.
This can be caused, paradoxically, by the pursuit of the comfort of residents. Care homes feature crucial quality-of-life factors in layout, furniture, décor, and temperature control that can, unfortunately, exacerbate the build-up and persistence of indoor air pollutants.

Add to this the fact that many residents spend the majority of their time indoors, and that by nature the elderly and infirm are particularly vulnerable to the risks associated with indoor air pollution, and you have a truly worrying combination: high pollution concentration, high exposure, and high vulnerability. This has always been true of these types of facilities, but it’s been the Coronavirus pandemic that has driven the skyrocketing demand for clean air in elderly care facilities.

Major risks of poor air quality in care homes and residential facilities:

Risks of poor air quality in care homes in South Africa

1. Respiratory illness

Respiratory muscle strength decreases with age and a lack of physical activity can predispose senior citizens to respiratory illness, which means that exposure to indoor air pollution is far more of a threat to the respiratory health of the elderly and infirm than it is to young and healthy individuals. These risks have been observed around the world, even in care facilities where the concentration of indoor air pollutants did not exceed international guidelines. High concentrations of indoor air pollutants have been linked to higher rates of hospital admissions among the elderly.

How VIRUSKILLER™ can protect against respiratory illness:

A host of filtration, neutralization and decontamination technologies are required to provide air that is free from the pathogens that can cause respiratory illness. Each VIRUSKILLER™ air purification model is equipped with our triple filter system — a pre-filter, carbon filter, and high-grade HEPA filter — to tackle particulate matter and VOCs, while the patented Reactor Chamber breaks down bioaerosols and organic matter that might otherwise escape filtration.

2. Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths globally. Changes in the heart and blood vessels due to ageing can put people over the age of 65 at risk of heart disease, and exposure to airborne pollutants increase this risk by increasing blood pressure — the primary cause of cardiovascular disease.

How VIRUSKILLER™ can protect against heart disease:

Even short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) can greatly increase the chances of stroke and hospital admissions among the elderly. VIRUSKILLER™ employs multiple layers of mechanical filtration to remove PM from the air, while the activated carbon filter removes carbon monoxide (CO), which is known to cause coronary artery disease.

3. Spread of airborne viruses

Viruses are a major threat, but even more so in enclosed spaces where vulnerable people are gathered and can interact with each other. The largest proportion of deaths relating to viral illness and influenza is the aged and elderly residents who live in care facilities, which are subject to outbreaks. The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic saw record numbers of deaths, not only disproportionately in the elderly, but overwhelmingly and specifically in nursing homes and senior living facilities around the world.

Viruses as a precursor to pneumonia

Pneumonia can be caused by several different pathogens, including airborne bacteria and respiratory viruses, such as influenza, coronaviruses, and rhinovirus. Pneumonia is the most frequent cause of death in residents in elderly care facilities. Pneumonia is more common among residents of elderly care facilities than among elderly persons living at home.

How VIRUSKILLER™ can protect against airborne viruses:

Surface decontamination is simple — simply wipe down furniture and equipment with alcohol — but air decontamination requires specialized technology such as VIRUSKILLER™. VIRUSKILLER™ airflow control ensures the protection of the breathing zone in a room, helping to minimize cross-infection between the healthy and the sick. The filters act as a first line of defence, and thereafter the Reactor Chamber efficiently decontaminates air in real-time.

4. Unpleasant odours

Age-related hormone changes can lead to increased body odour, while incontinence and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common among the elderly, and can lead to strong, unpleasant odours in nursing homes and care facilities - a major source of discomfort and embarrassment for residents, staff, and visitors. Odour is one of the factors that can influence staff workplace satisfaction and morale. Odour is also a significant measure of perceived indoor air quality as well as cleanliness.

How VIRUSKILLER™ can reduce unpleasant Odours:

The combination of an activated carbon filter and the decontamination power of the Reactor Chamber acts as a world-class odour control solution.

5. Poor quality sleep

High levels of indoor air pollution can cause fatigue, but can also cause nasal inflammation which can be associated with sleep disorders and poor quality sleep due to airway obstruction. This in turn results in weakened immune systems and longer recovery periods.

Degradation of building materials, poor maintenance of ventilation systems, and humidity can lead to dampness or the presence of indoor mould, exposure to which is also related to poor quality of sleep.
Short-term exposure to air pollutants has been linked to a higher risk of hospitalization among the elderly due to exacerbated sleep disorders.

How VIRUSKILLER™ can improve the quality of sleep:

The high-grade HEPA filter and activated carbon filter take care of particulates and harmful gases and fumes, while the decontamination power of the Reactor Chamber deactivates mould and pathogens that exacerbate allergies and rhinitis responsible for negatively impacting the quality of sleep.

If you are serious about resident wellbeing, then consider introducing VIRUSKILLER™ to your elderly care facility or nursing homes today. Not only will installing a VIRUSKILLER™ solution provide the aforementioned health benefits to the elderly residents and their caregivers, it will also provide reassurance and peace of mind that the most vulnerable in our society are being given the best levels of care.

Find out more by downloading the VIRUSKILLER™ product brochure to view the range, or talk to our team for more information. You can also find out more about Air Hygiene from our whitepaper.

VIRUSKILLER Product Brochure

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

I joined Rentokil Initial South Africa in 2004 as the PA to the MD, and after 6 months maternity leave I re-joined the Company in 2009 as the Marketing Co-ordinator for Rentokil. I'm now the Marketing Communication Manager for Rentokil Initial. I'm still terrified of cockroaches (Americana's only!) but the rest of the creepy crawlies we deal with don't really bug me (see what I did there?), so I guess I'm in the right industry! I am passionate about what we do here at Rentokil Initial and also write for our Hygiene Blog, which can be found at blog.initial.co.za, and our Ambius blog - https://www.ambius.co.za/blog. Life outside of Rentokil Initial mostly revolves around my daughter, who has just turned twelve, and my husband (who is a bit older). I love living in Cape Town and wouldn't trade living here for anywhere else in the world.

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