Unfortunately, the current lockdown has coincided with another increase in Covid deaths amongst care home residents.
With staff now well versed in hygiene management ,and visitors either barred or communicating through screens, many are wondering why these establishments remain so prone to infection.
One of the answers lies in the oft-used but little understood word ‘ventilation’.
We know that infected individuals expel, while talking, singing, exercising and, yes, just breathing, millions of moisture-laden particles with every breath. If the individual is wearing a face mask, some of these particles will be trapped, but enormous numbers will escape the mask to float freely in the air. Here they will drift, often for hours, growing in number with every breath, until one of three things happens.
They drift to the floor or a surface where, if hygiene measures are strong, they present little danger.
They are breathed in by another person in the room, potentially infecting that person.
They are removed from the air - either by ventilating the space through open windows or by purifying the air in the room.
At Plain Air we pay attention to anything in the media related to air quality, ventilation and coronavirus. Unfortunately we’ve seen several TV news stories where there have been multiple Covid deaths in a particular care home. In the way of journalists, they typically report from outside the home in question.
Without exception, every care home we’ve seen in these circumstances has EVERY SINGLE visible window closed. In other words, the only mechanism available to the typical care home to reduce airborne virus and the risk of infection is not being used at all.
“What do you expect?” we hear you cry. “It’s the middle of winter. You can’t leave the windows open in winter in a building full of infirm elderly residents”.
But that’s exactly what the government expects to be done to prevent deaths. So management are effectively choosing between short-term comfort and infection risk - and choosing comfort every time.
Yet the choice doesn’t even need to be made. Properly specified air purifiers will clean the air, removing airborne virus, without removing the air from the building, so it doesn’t continually need reheating. The whole process of assessment, acquisition, installation and operation can be done in a matter of days and cost no more than a few months of additional heating costs from having windows open.
Ventilation in care homes SAVES LIVES. A professional ventilation policy will also attract new residents, reassure staff and save money.
If you run or work in a care home, or have a relative or loved-one living in one, start a conversation with us today.