With Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out across Canada, the long-term care sector is finally able to look towards the future – but the lessons of this pandemic have come at too high a price to ever be forgotten.
Care homes have been ravaged by this virus. One study showed that 73% of all Canada’s Covid-19 deaths occurred in care homes*, and behind that grim statistic lie many stories of heartbreak and impossible choices faced by nursing staff.
With parts of the country back in lockdown due to rising infection and death rates, only one thing is certain right now: this can never be allowed to happen again. When it comes to the future of infection control there’s no room for complacency.
So what does this mean for long-term care?
Even with the arrival of a vaccine for this particular virus, it’s likely that we will see much tighter measures to contain the spread of infection in care homes than before.
Hand hygiene, contact tracing and tighter protocols on visitors may well remain as a way to prevent germs being carried to the vulnerable. Within homes themselves, strict hygiene protocols are sure to become a permanent feature. Right now, all hope is pinned on vaccination as a way out of the pandemic and while signs are encouraging, it’s going to take time to immunise the entire population. Even then, we don’t know if this will offer permanent immunity, or whether vulnerable people will need to be vaccinated annually as is the case with other coronaviruses, like the seasonal flu.
It’s case of hoping for the best, while preparing for the worst – and that means long-term care homes across Canada are pressing ahead with infrastructure updates to maximise their chances of keeping on top of potential future outbreaks of this or any other virus.
As with any healthcare setting, patient privacy is a major part of this strategy. Privacy screens are used in care homes to offer dignity for feeding, changing and other procedures, as well as an added layer of infection control for high-risk residents. Currently, many care homes are operating as vaccination centers. In all of these instances, privacy dividers are essential for minimising the risk of airborne infection to residents, staff and external HCPs entering the facility.
But the ability of textile curtains to adequately prevent this spread has been called into question, with some studies showing that curtains may even increase the risk of healthcare-acquired infections.
Say hello to CleanScreen
The CleanScreen modular privacy screen is designed to offer superior infection control and patient dignity within an intuitive, compliant design.
CleanScreen’s moulded, interlocking plastic panels are a hard-surface alternative to textile privacy screens and can be cleaned using the same methods as floors and work surfaces for total disinfection and convenience.
With a unique hinge system featuring just two connection points and a smooth, seamless surface, CleanScreen gives bacteria and viruses nowhere to hide. The system is highly adaptable – add or remove panels to fit any space, and select from wall or trolley-mounted options to best suit your needs. Panels can be dismantled for terminal disinfection, and there’s the option of built-in antimicrobial technology that offers baseline protection for the life of the product, for extra peace of mind.
CleanScreen has multiple applications in a care home setting; it’s ideal for use in isolation rooms, to bolster infection control and facilitate ‘bubbles’ in communal visiting areas, or to create Covid-secure vaccination booths that will be essential over the coming weeks and months.
To discuss how CleanScreen fits into your future infection control strategy, get in touch.
*National Institute on Aging, Ryerson University, January 2021.