There’s danger lurking in care homes nationwide and most of the time, owners and staff have no idea about it. It definitely took the death of a 95-year-old man from a Reading Borough Council care home to provide a stark reality check. The episode showed how Legionella testing kits can be an important investment for Care Homes.
According to reports, the 95-year-old man named Lewis Payne died of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a unique illness that can be acquired from exposure to the Legionella bacteria. Its symptoms include headache, muscle pain, chills and high fever for the initial stage. As the condition worsens over the next few days, symptoms become more severe. Hacking coughs that bring up mucus and blood. Difficulty in breathing, chest pains, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea, and even memory lapses.
Payne’s initial complaint was that he was not feeling well. Unfortunately and none of the care home staff had any training in recognising the elderly gentleman’s symptoms. As his condition grew worse, medical tests conducted at a hospital proved that he had Legionnaire’s pneumonia. While he received treatment for the disease, his age and the late treatment weakened him significantly, and he died shortly after.
Once the cause of death was determined as exposure to Legionella bacteria, an investigation was begun. The investigation searched to establish where he could have been exposed to it. It was found in his wash basin, in one of the upstairs showers, and in an outside tap of the care home. So the whole time, it was not only Payne that was in danger but also the other residents of the facility.
Needless to say, there was a level of neglect on the Care Home owner’s part. It became clear that HSE guidance water hygiene and accepted good practice were not being undertaken.
Sadly, such a fatality could have been prevented. There are products available that can make sure that water systems in homes and care facilities are completely free from harmful bacteria that can compromise people’s health. To check for Legionnella bacteria in taps, baths and shower heads, a Legionella testing kit can be purchased. Water samples from different water distribution systems are gathered and these samples are taken to the laboratory for immediate testing. When all the samples have been analysed, the lab sends a detailed report of the water composition. Another way to ensure that the bacteria is not present in shower heads and taps is by using Shower Head Cleaner. This is a cleaning agent so powerful, it can kill off Legionella bacteria and other germs.
Care homes should be a place where people feel safe and well taken care of. Thus, it’s imperative that these places uphold the highest standards for cleanliness and health. With the right products and consistent practices for sanitation, no one else should suffer an unfortunate death like Lewis Payne did.