Disinfecting nursing homes, like long-term care homes (LTCH) and retirement homes (RH) have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, which is why these are among the most critical places where the further spread of the virus should be prevented. One of the best ways managers and staff can ensure this is by learning how to clean and disinfect their facilities properly, not just during the pandemic, but always.
In this article, we will provide 5 important recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting long-term care and nursing homes, as well as any other healthcare facility. These best practices will contribute to the health of residents, health care workers, and visitors.
Disinfecting and Cleaning Nursing Homes Recommendations
Frequent Cleaning & Disinfection
Following the guidelines from Public Health Ontario, long-term care and retirement homes should perform frequent cleaning and disinfection of their high touch surfaces located in common use areas. This should be done at least twice a day.
Cleaning staff at long-term care and nursing homes should pay special attention to all surfaces, even the ones that are only in contact with staff, such as medication carts, charting desks, computer screens, telephones, etc. They should also go the extra mile at disinfecting items like dishes and cutlery, as well as linens, considering these are used by multiple residents in a regular week and can be a vehicle for spreading contaminants.
Proper Disinfection of High-Touch Surfaces
Properly cleaning and disinfecting nursing homes and retirement homes involve paying additional attention to the surfaces in all resident rooms, even if they are only used by one resident at a time. Items like bedside and overbed tables, call bell cords or buttons, door handles, light switches, bed rails, chairs, etc. should be considered “high-touch” and treated as such. When cleaning and disinfecting a room, staff needs to keep in mind that walls, floors, windowsills, and furniture also require attention. Keeping the space where one resident spends time as disinfected as possible reduces the chances of them getting infected of anything they could have entered in contact with in common areas.
Another group of items of importance when disinfecting is shared resident equipment. This includes electronic thermometers, pulse oximeters, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, etc. They should be disinfected after each use. In the case of thermometers, it's important to discard single-use probe covers between each resident and follow the manufacturer's instructions for their proper sanitization.
Use Hospital-Grade Disinfectants
According to Public Health Ontario, one of the most important aspects of any disinfection process in long-term care and retirement homes is making sure to use health care or hospital-grade disinfectants that are properly registered in Canada with a Drug Information Number (DIN) and following the instructions on their labels for required contact times.
A good example of registered hospital-grade disinfectants is the product selection available in our shop section. Ultra-Lyte Hard Surface Cleaner, Ultra-Lyte Disinfectant, Vital Oxide Disinfectant, and Environize Anolyte Disinfectant are outstanding products that offer efficient disinfection and sanitation of surfaces, while providing other benefits like the safety of use, innovative formulas, and eco-friendliness, without having to rinse surfaces after using them.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
All cleaning staff should use disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) while cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, just like the equipment used by the healthcare staff, as indicated by Public Health Ontario. Facemasks, face shields, gloves, and even gowns should be worn even if they are using disinfectant solutions that don’t require this precaution.
The reason for this is that PPE protects them from the microorganisms present on the surfaces they are cleaning, and it prevents transmission from one patient to another. Cleaning staff should discard these protective items after completing the disinfection of each resident room.
Cleaning and disinfecting long-term care and retirement homes can be a daunting task, especially when it has to be done twice a day in some areas. For this reason, management should look for cleaning tools and equipment that would increase effectiveness and reduce the time staff has to dedicate to each resident room and common area. One of the best alternatives for this is the use of fog machines.
We believe in our products and are certain that we have the best selection of disinfectant foggers and sprayers in Southwestern Ontario, with solutions for any long-term care or retirement home, regardless of their size and number of residents. These are the fogging machines we recommend:
- Disinfecto Electrostatic Sprayer - Electrostatic fogger is a lightweight and easy-to-use handheld sprayer that provides excellent coverage thanks to its adjustable atomization feature that allows you to switch from a 60-um to a 120-um droplet diameter. This, combined with its flow rate of 4.2 oz per minute, its 500ml solution tank, and its electrostatic generator for improved uniformity of droplets and surface coverage; offers the most convenient and cost-effective disinfection performance you didn’t know you needed.
- Nano Atomizer - a device that works by producing a dry fog that disinfects on contact, making it perfect for households, hair salons, barbers, dental offices, medical clinics, vehicles, and much more. This kind of thermal fogger is made to kill 99.99% of all viruses and disinfect all surfaces, including fabrics and electronics, especially when paired with a hospital-grade disinfectant solution.
- Portable Fogger - a cordless electrostatic fogger with a rechargeable battery for convenient, on-the-go fogging. It works by charging liquids (i.e., cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants) as they pass through a sprayer nozzle, and this electrostatic process uses an internal negative ion generator for capturing, killing germs (viruses, bacteria) in mid-air.
- Heavy Duty ULV Fogger - ideal for large facilities where a reliable disinfecting device is needed. This model is an Ultra Light Volume (ULV) Cold Fogger, which is very effective for the application of disinfectants, pesticides, and mold and mildew control. It works by providing a high volume of air added to microns of moisture content. Together, these elements provide the user with the ability to evenly apply any disinfectant solution to a multitude of surfaces.
In conclusion, cleaning and disinfecting nursing homes and retirement homes properly is necessary to stop the spread of viruses such as the one that causes COVID-19. Having a functional and consistent cleaning and disinfection strategy reduces the number of microorganisms that may potentially be transmitted from one individual to another.
Keeping a clean and organized environment also contributes to a culture of health and safety for staff, patients, and residents, as well as their families, which is essential if long-term care and retirement homes want to provide a positive work environment for their employees and patient care and family-focused environment for their clients.