The relatives of people living in nursing homes expect their family members to receive high-quality care. This not only ensures residents have a good quality of living, it also prevents them from being injured or falling ill during their stay.
Pneumonia poses a significant threat to those in assisted living facilities, especially when residents have chronic medical conditions. Even minor bouts can be fatal to a high-risk individual, so it is up to nursing home staff to prevent the spread of pneumonia however they can. Here are a few steps nursing facilities can take.
Be able to recognize symptoms
Identifying the signs and symptoms of pneumonia can be difficult when a person has other medical conditions. Unlike younger people with pneumonia, who present with shortness of breath and fever, the elderly will often exhibit uncommon symptoms that can be easily overlooked. This includes a lack of energy, dizziness, increased rate of breathing, and confusion.
Emphasize hand-washing & sanitation
Staff must wash their hands with soap and water before providing care to each resident. Staff must also properly sanitize surfaces in resident rooms and common areas several times a day, using a solution approved to kill viruses, bacteria, and other germs. Access to hand sanitizer throughout a facility is beneficial, but only if it is accompanied by regular hand washing.
Make sure residents are properly vaccinated
Responsible nursing homes know that prevention is the best course of action for maintaining the health and well-being of residents. Administering a pneumococcal vaccine greatly reduces fatalities caused by pneumonia. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all residents of nursing homes receive this vaccine, regardless of their age. Elderly people are also encouraged to receive a yearly flu vaccine, as seasonal flu can lead to pneumonia in vulnerable people.