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May 2022

Keeping your elderly family members healthy

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Health and Safety, Cleanliness and Hygiene

Our latest blog takes a look at how to keep the elderly residents of frail care, nursing, and old age facilities healthy.

Elderly care, nursing homes, and frail care facilities are places for the elderly and frail to live in comfort and with dignity, and, given the vulnerability of this population group, every care should be taken to ensure the health and safety of these facilities. 

As we saw during the pandemic, everyone is at risk from airborne diseases, but our elderly and frail populations were especially hard hit. Their health may already be compromised, and elderly care and nursing home facilities are by design prone to certain hygiene challenges - most notably that of the build-up of indoor air pollutants.

Add to this the fact that many residents spend the majority of their time indoors,  in close contact with each other and the staff, and you have a scenario in which illnesses can quickly spread if hygiene measures aren’t strictly adhered to.  

Essential hygiene measure for protecting the elderly 

We recommend 3 essential hygiene measures below that every frail care, nursing home and old age facility should be employing in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of their residents.

1. Air purification solutions:

Air pollutants can be a threat to the health of the elderly, ensuring clean air is essential to health

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 even more of a threat to the health of the elderly and infirm than it is to young and healthy individuals. 

Viruses are also a major threat, but even more so in enclosed spaces where elderly and 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.

Air purification solutions such as the VIRUSKILLER™ -  which employs specialised technology to protect the breathing zone in a room - can minimize cross-infection between healthy and sick residents and staff. You can read more about why air purification in elderly care, nursing homes, and frail care facilities  is so important in our previous blog post on air care for care homes..  

2. Adult incontinence waste solutions:

Adult incontinence waste solutions

Urinary incontinence is an important and common health care problem affecting the elderly population, and may result in a large volume of adult incontinence waste (adult nappies). This waste, if not segregated, stored, and disposed of properly, can create some significant healthcare and hygiene risks. 

We recently wrote a blog post all about the safe and hygienic disposal of adult incontinence waste and why it's so important to the health and wellbeing of residents that incontinence waste is disposed of properly. 

Initial has a selection of modern, high-capacity nappy bins which are collected on a frequency determined by the size of your business. Nappy waste from healthcare providers is disposed of in accordance with the regulations for medical waste.

3. Hand washing, drying and sanitising solutions:

Good hand hygiene practices are still the number one defence against illnesses such as gastroenteritis, norovirus, and hepatitis, and that's the reason hand hygiene is still one of our most common blog topics.

We recently did a quick round up for you of the 3 most popular handwashing blogs on our site. Find out more about improving hand hygiene with these tips.

SaniGreen hand sanitiser stand makes hygiene second nature

Sanigreen hand sanitiser station stand with plant on top from Ambius

Why not take hand hygiene one step further and incorporate all the wellness benefits of live plants into your hand hygiene protocols?

Plants connect us to nature and give us a greater sense of wellbeing. Our sister business - Ambius - is passionate about including plants and their benefits into the interior environment. We know that plants can have significant wellbeing benefits for residents of care facilities, and can improve visitors’ perceptions of a hospital, frail care, or nursing facility. 

Lowering stress and anxiety

Plants can also lower anxiety and stress for the residents of these facilities. Multiple small studies have analysed the relationship between being near indoor plants and lower stress levels. A 2015 study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that interacting with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress. 

In 2011, researchers from Uppsala University (Sweden) and Norwegian University of Life Sciences found that the simple presence of plants in our environment reduces stress and fatigue, and increases feelings of happiness. 

Our SaniGreen hand sanitiser stand from Ambius is an elegant, no-touch hand sanitising station that not only protects people, but also incorporates the benefits of interior plants.

To find out more, visit the Ambius website, or contact our team to learn how Ambius can bring a positive approach to your hygiene efforts.

benefits of indoor plants for the healthcare and nursing sector

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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