While recent cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been increased with a sense of urgency due to Covid-19, we must remain diligent in advocating for the importance of enhanced protocols to continue to have a successful reduction of a wide range of contagious respiratory illnesses from the common cold to SARS to the seasonal flu. Noroviruses can be equally dangerous in communal settings and should also be considered when developing sanitizing and pressure washing policies and protocols.
Bacteria and viruses can be especially detrimental to residents of long-term care facilities. With the added risk of communal spread because of shared accommodations, washroom facilities and common spaces like dining halls, high-touch and high-traffic areas are especially vulnerable to dangerous pathogens. Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols brought on by Covid-19 must remain at the forefront of our priorities as a community. Not only could it be a potential life saver if even one virus-related death is avoided but it is also equally important that we maintain this level of enhanced protocols to ensure that seniors, people with disabilities and our children are not impacted by the reduced quality of life that comes with sudden closures or lockdowns.
Holistic palliative and long-term care should focus on relief of suffering and improve quality of life until the day someone dies. Psychological, spiritual, and social care included, it’s imperative that we avoid future lockdowns or restrictions in such harsh ways that limit LTC residents from that physical and emotional comfort of their loved ones. Long term care should be about living well, and when we limit access to visitors, we limit quality of life. Advocates, interpreters, hair stylists, arts and music programs, community activities can all continue if we limit the spread of viruses. LTCs were some of the first to experience drastic restrictions and some of the last to see those restrictions lifted.
Continued enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols can:
- Reduce the spread of illness and infection
- Improve the quality of life of residents by allowing ‘non-essential’ activities to proceed safely
- Offer a trusted sense of comfort to family and loved ones that the overall health and safety of LTC residents remains high.
- Ensure that shared equipment remains safe for use
Consistent and proactive sanitizing plans should include high-touch surfaces, transportation vehicles, and an action plan for suspected or confirmed cases of illness including droplet/contact precautions. With the uncertainty of viral activity in our communities, we can be diligent in reducing the risk of spread without limiting the joyful visits from family and friends. LTC facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities should continue to remain focused on hand washing, cleaning, and sanitizing as a high priority should we hope to avoid extreme restrictions during any future pandemics.
Our on-the-go sanitizing and pressure washer services offer quick turnaround when outbreaks are suspected. With routine sanitizing of transportation vehicles, and common areas we can work together to be proactive in the inevitable community spread of viruses. High quality, equitable care, that includes proactive cleaning protocols offers a balanced approach to ensure a good quality of life can be achieved with minimal cost increases that are often offset by the reduction of medical attention costs required when communicable outbreaks and subsequent restrictions are avoided.