Nursing Home Safety During COVID-19

By on July 27, 2020
Nursing home safety

Over 126,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in nursing home residents since March, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, emphasizing the extreme importance for an efficient re-opening strategy for long-term facilities when the time comes. Shifting from a once comfortable environment pre-Coronavirus, staff members in over 15,600 nursing homes in the United States will need to make changes to ensure the nursing home safety of their residents moving forward!

While many of us would like to hug our parents and grandparents, right now we can’t. What we can do, though, is keep our seniors in good spirits at nursing homes by implementing realistic and manageable practices to optimize safety. LivingBetter50 has some steps that nursing homes should take to ensure their residents are protected and comfortable as they adjust to the new normal:

Set reminders for residents to call their loved ones

Days inside can often become monotonous, making it even harder to remember to connect with others. The extra push to call a friend or family member can sometimes be a refreshing reminder. If possible, encourage video chat, as a smile warms the heart. It is easier for those with hearing impairments to read lips with video chat.

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Enforce a ‘mask-on’ policy

Make sure that all staff personnel and visitors wear masks before entering the building and keep them on the entire duration of visits to avoid airborne spread. Consider masks that are clear so seniors can read lips.

Disinfect without chemicals

The non-stop use of harsh chemicals suggested to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other dangerous viruses, bacteria, and microbes, also kill the good bacteria that help fight infections and protect the immune system. While chemicals like Clorox and Lysol kill bacteria and viruses, they are not always safe for skin and lungs. Try an eco-friendly, mechanical-kill disinfectant like Aroma’s Bokke All-Natural Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Spray to keep the environment virus-free. Our environment, just like our body, has a biome, an immune system. It prevents too many ‘bad guys’ from accumulating in our homes and plays a key role in our overall health.

We need to protect and support good bacterial growth in our environment.  If not, we are likely to see more virulent strains of superbug, mold, fungus, and viruses than ever before. Microbes ALWAYS have the last word. Think mold in the shower. The best way to boost and balance the environmental immune system is to introduce probiotics to create a stronger defense barrier than antibacterial products, disinfectants, and bleach can provide.

Consider technology to help seniors cope

There are many devices out there designed specifically to keep seniors connected with their loved ones. The Amazon Echo Show 8 is a personal unit that will keep seniors connected to friends and family through photos, video, and video chat. It is also great for those without a smartphone.

Slow and steady wins the race

Seniors need emotional connection just like everyone else. It is hard when they can not see visitors. Don’t jump too quickly and open up if it feels unsafe. Make sure to follow CDC guidelines as information is constantly evolving. Create a COVID-family safe space for visitation to allow families to connect safely.

LivingBetter50 is a magazine for women over 50, offering an over 50 magazine free download for women of spirit!

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Nursing Home Safety During COVID-19