Infection Control has long been a hot topic for care and nursing home operators. It can be a real challenge to manage, with many residents often suffering from underlying health issues, making them more vulnerable to picking up illnesses.
This higher risk of infection, coupled with poor hand hygiene can have a detrimental effect on the wider community. After all, germs can easily be passed from hands to surfaces, and other people, seemingly unnoticed.
With a duty of care to ensure that residents, visitors and staff are living and working in a safe and hygienic environment, care home managers need to do all they can to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria. And this starts in the washroom with proper hand hygiene.
According to research by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, 84% of adults in the UK do not wash their hands for long enough to effectively remove germs. Added to this, if people don’t dry their hands sufficiently after washing, bacteria can spread via damp hands.
Ensuring correct hand hygiene procedures are followed is the single most important way to reduce the spread of infection. However, regardless of whether residents understand the importance of washing their hands effectively, if the washroom isn’t inviting, it’s not going to be used. Ensuring the washroom is inclusive and accessible is key to promoting proper hand washing, so when it comes to the fit-out, there are a number of factors and social issues to keep in mind.
Keep it clean
First and foremost, we need to ensure that the washroom is clean, hygienic and inviting. We have recently added the Airdri Air Purifier to our portfolio to address concerns around washroom cleanliness. The unit uses custom thermal convection technology to kill airborne and surface bacteria and viruses, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Other solutions, which may feature a HEPA filter or have an antibacterial coating, only clean the area immediately surrounding the dryer. The Airdri Air Purifier provides a complete hygiene solution for the whole washroom.
Make it accessible
Elderly residents, particularly wheelchair users and those using walking aids, often need assistance in the washroom. Although many care home washrooms are designed to give space and accessibility, many are let down by bulky equipment which gets in the way. Maintaining streamlined surfaces, with slim profile products, can make navigating the washroom a much easier experience. Wall-mounted hand dryers, with a slim profile, such as the Airdri QuazarTM, one of Airdri’s ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant units, can keep floor and lower-wall space free. This leaves residents able to move around without the risk of colliding with large, obtrusive equipment.
Selecting a low noise level hand dryer should be an important consideration for care home operators when making a purchase. The sound of a loud hand dryer when in use can be distressing for the elderly. For many, particularly hearing aid wearers and dementia sufferers, loud hand dryers can startle them and leave them feeling intimidated. In turn, this discourages them from using the washroom. The low sound output of the Airdri QuazarTM makes it an ideal choice for washrooms that will be used by the elderly.
Ensuring facilities are environmentally friendly, durable, and cost-effective is high on the agenda for the care sector. Look for products that minimise the environmental impact and go for a hand dryer that consumes very little power – under 1,000 watts is the standard required in order to qualify for the coveted GreenSpec status. Also consider the lifespan of a hand dryer. Using the latest motor technology means that, on average, our hand dryers have a lifespan of around 6,000 hours – six times longer than that of similar, fast dry models. In fact, when placed on lifecycle testing, the Airdri QuantumTM jet dryer lasts for over 10,000 hours, outperforming competitors by tenfold.