PPE & Infection Prevention in Aged Care Facilities

Aotearoa New Zealand has officially lived with the COVID-19 virus in our communities for more than two years now. As we look to the future and our ‘new normal’, infection prevention will play a key role in how we keep ourselves and those we love healthy. In this blog post we discuss vital infection prevention tips, geared towards keeping the elderly members of our society safe.

The elderly members of our society are more vulnerable than most - and caring for older family and friends is something that many of us will encounter in our lifetime. Therefore, even if we don’t actively work in an aged care setting, it’s important for us to have some level of understanding as to what preventing infection within an aged care facility looks like.

It is vital that our aged care facilities continue to uphold the highest of standards of prevention, and that everyone who enters an aged care setting is aware of the correct PPE procedures to minimise risk.
Firstly, whether you work in an aged care facility or are visiting one, protecting yourself from the risk of picking up an infection is of primary importance. By correctly putting on, taking off and disposing of your PPE, you reduce the risk of personal contamination. Consider your surroundings when doing so. Be cautious to never remove any medical masks and PPE protection until you’re away from the patient, ideally outside of their room.

So, what PPE should you be donning in an aged care setting to reduce the risk of infection?

As we have all become accustomed to, a medical mask is the first level of protection that you will need in an aged care setting. Medical masks are designed to protect the wearer from chemicals and infection. They are globally recognised as having the ability to reduce the transmission of infectious particles between people. Where possible, both carer and patient should be wearing a medical mask to protect each other.

An additional layer of vital protection comes from disposable gloves. Gloves allow the wearer to not actively touch any infections with their bare skin, limiting the risk of cross contamination. It’s important to remember that it is possible for gloves to pick up infections they encounter so they must be appropriately disposed of between patients.

The final piece of infection protection for those in aged care settings comes in the form of aprons or overalls. By adding this additional barrier, you’re protecting your own personal clothing items, ensuring that any infections don’t sit on your clothes or uniform. Close contact with a patient means there is a risk that materials or equipment may lead to contamination with microorganisms, blood, or bodily fluids. The apron or overalls actively reduce this risk, keeping the carer safe and limiting the chance of infection being spread further around the facility.

Additional steps you can take to decrease the risk of contamination.

Performing hand hygiene is essential before putting on or removing PPE. It allows for any potential infections to be removed before and after any care is administered. If you’re caring for multiple people in your facility, it’s imperative to remove PPE between each patient, wash your hands and replace the removed PPE with new, clean protection. It is widely reported that The WHO recommends that hand washing should take place often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It’s especially important to practice this after going to the toilet, when hands are visibly dirty, before eating, after blowing your nose, and of course when replacing PPE.

When it comes to PPE disposal, if you’re within a healthcare setting, all PPE should be safely removed and disposed of into a lined waste bin in accordance with the facility’s healthcare policy and procedures. If you’re in a community setting, any used PPE should be placed into a separate bag, sealed, tied, and then placed into general waste. This is non-negotiable and extremely important for infection prevention.

The frontline staff, working tirelessly throughout New Zealand to protect our communities, deserve the best PPE. At Bastion, we offer aged care workers, and those that visit aged care settings the quality of PPE they can rely on. Giving peace of mind to those who are in a position of care is something we take extremely seriously. Bastion is extremely well positioned to meet the supply and demand of PPE needed throughout Aotearoa to keep our elderly population, and those who care for them, safe. Our product is internationally recognised and supported by specialist product advice. As part of our promise to keep New Zealanders safe, you can reach out to our expert team with any questions. Rest easy knowing you and your team are protected and equipped to do your best work.

Click here to request free samples or to talk to our team about the right PPE solutions for your Aged Care Facility.

Date Added: Tuesday, 28th June 2022


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