Infection control is the practice by which the Home prevents and manages infections. Infection control principles are included in all aspects of providing care for all Residents.

Hand Hygiene

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. In order to protect Residents from infections, staff wash their hands often. We encourage Residents and visitors to do the same. Hands are best washed when you arrive, and before you leave the facility. Hand washing is the best prevention against the spread of infection.

Hand hygiene with soap and water when done correctly, removes organisms. Hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub when correctly applied, kills organisms in seconds.

How to Clean Hands: Two Methods

Personal Protective Equipment

Most commonly, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in healthcare settings is used for infection control. PPE acts as a barrier between infectious materials and your skin, nose, mouth or eyes. This barrier has the potential to block the transmission of contaminants from blood, bodily fluids or respiratory secretions.

PPE also helps to protect those at a high risk of contracting infections, such as those with a medical condition, for example immunodeficiency, from being exposed to potentially infectious materials brought in by staff or visitors. PPE is designed as disposable clothing so it can be effectively removed and disposed of immediately after wear, often in special waste containers, to protect others from exposure to germs.

Why Might I be Asked Not to Visit in the Facility?

Long-Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes have elderly Residents who may have chronic illnesses which weaken their immune systems, putting them more at risk of developing severe illness and complications. Infections also can be more easily transmitted in institutional environments, thus increasing the importance of early implementation of control measures. Early detection and timely implementation of outbreak control measures is essential to prevent further transmission of the infection to others, thereby reducing the length and impact of an outbreak.

Family members and visitors may be asked to not visit the facility during an infectious disease outbreak when Residents in the home are ill. The purpose is to protect you and your family from the illness. Family members and visitors should also not visit if they have cold, fever, or vomiting and diarrhea. Children exposed to chickenpox are advised not to visit.

Immunizations

Immunization is important for all seniors. It is especially important for individuals who are frequent visitors in a Long-Term Care Home. It is recommended that seniors receive:

  • A single dose of tetanus and diphtheria booster every ten years
  • A single dose of pneumococcal vaccine at the age of 65 or over
  • A flu shot for influenza every fall. The influenza vaccine is the single most effective way of preventing the flu

If you would like more information on any of the vaccines listed please refer to the Provinces routine immunization schedule.

Antivirals

During an outbreak of influenza, the Home (staff and Residents) are prescribed medications which work by blocking the exit of the influenza virus from respiratory cells and therefore prevent further replication of the virus. Because of this mechanism of action, they should be taken as soon as possible, ideally within 48 hours of symptom onset, when used for treatment.