The Importance Of Water Testing In Care Homes
Early this year, there was a report about an older man who lived in a care facility and died of Legionnaire’s disease. Traces of legionella bacteria were found in his wash basin, wash cloth, toothbrush and other hygiene products. Sadly, he got infected going about his usual cleaning ritual which is certainly ironic. It’s always tragic when older folks perish because of some disease instead of natural causes. It’s even more heart breaking because the man had to endure the awful pains created by the disease. All this happened while he was living in an assisted facility where he was supposed to be taken care of… again, the irony of it all.
Due to such report and other accounts of legionella contamination in senior facilities, care homes are strongly required to conduct regular legionella testing. Care Homes are just some of the most common origin points of the disease’s outbreak. These properties have temperature-adjustable water distribution systems (taps, showers, hydrotherapy pools, etc.). Plus they have special pieces of equipment that require warm/hot water (nebulizers, dehumidifiers, steamers, and others). Consequently likelihood of the bacteria naturally occurring in these facilities is very high. Any residents who are already sick are more prone to exposure and complete infection.
Legionella testing in care homes and other social care facilities is really not that difficult to carry out. There are legionella water testing kits easily available for purchase. It’s just important that all hot and cold water systems are covered to ensure that the facility is completely free from the bacteria. Some test results will reveal that there are traces of legionella bacteria in the water systems. Now it has been found before people become ill, appropriate measures can be taken promptly to address contamination. These may include:
- Switching to effective legionella-fighting cleaning agents.
- Reviewing temperature controls for water distribution and storage systems to prevent the occurrence of the bacteria as well as its quick proliferation.
- Training personnel in routinely checking, inspecting and cleaning the system in accordance with the risk assessment.
In case of positive findings, residents of the facility can be checked right away for infection which then can better ensure successful medical treatment.
Another thing worth mentioning is the benefit that the certification gives. It proves that the facility had undergone proper safety and maintenance efforts is a strong marketing strategy. Families of the residents automatically gain assurance or peace of mind that their loved one will be completely safe living in such care home.
Written by: +Duncan Hollis