While most untreated indoor spaces contain high levels of air pollution, research into the quality of air in aged care homes has revealed poor levels of air ventilation and distressingly high concentrations of harmful airborne pathogens.
Research reveals that poor air quality increases the risk of respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, the spread of airborne viruses, and the prevalence of unpleasant odours. It also has a profound impact on the quality of sleep, which can weaken the immune system and exacerbate behavioural issues for people living with dementia.
Indoor air quality in nursing homes is not currently regulated by aged care legislation, which is highly concerning given the fact that the concentration of indoor air pollutants in homes often exceeds international standards for safety and acceptability.
Although most aged care homes have been designed to be naturally ventilated with openable windows to improve air quality, unfortunately, this is often not practical.
Windows often remain shut during the colder months to keep residents warm, and typical nursing home areas like corridors and large common areas often present no options for any natural ventilation.
As mounting evidence highlights the need to address the issue of air quality in aged care, new solutions to removing harmful pathogens from the air are beginning to gain traction around the globe.
Breathing a sigh of relief
The aged care industry has been notoriously slow in embracing technologies that are commonplace in other facets of the workforce. This hesitancy is often born out of concerns regarding cost and a lack of available staff to learn and implement new procedures.
Thankfully, there is a cost-effective solution to improving air quality in aged care homes, and its plug-and-play operation requires no disruptive renovations or extra duties for busy aged care staff.
Initial Hygiene’s VIRUSKILLER™ has been heralded for its ability to reduce the risk of cross-contamination of harmful airborne viruses and pathogens.
Air Hygiene solutions have been at the forefront of significantly assisting to provide healthy, clean, hygienic air to aged care homes across the globe throughout the pandemic.
As aged care providers implement VIRUSKILLER™ technology to minimise the risk of the spread of harmful viruses, residents are gaining extra protection against illnesses such as influenza, which is a frequent cause of death in residents living in aged care environments.
Now available Australia, VIRUSKILLER™ air purifiers are equipped with a unique combination of medical-grade filters that kill 99.9999% of all airborne viruses and bacteria on a single pass*.
Exposure to indoor air pollution is a major threat to the respiratory health of elderly aged care residents, as respiratory issues currently account for almost one-third of deaths in Australians over the age of 65.
Higher concentrations of indoor air pollutants have also been linked to higher rates of hospital admissions amongst the elderly.
VIRUSKILLER™ air purifiers assist with eradicating harmful air pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) that compound health risks for residents with lung issues like asthma, bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema and lung infection.
These air purification systems can also help to minimise risk to those suffering from heart disease, as the solutions use multiple layers of mechanical filtration to remove particulate matter (PM) from the air, while the activated carbon filter removes carbon monoxide (CO), which is known to cause coronary artery disease.
Clean air should not be considered a luxury
It may be a sensitive subject, but odour control is an issue that aged care facilities deal with daily.
Strong unpleasant odours are a source of embarrassment for residents and staff alike. Many visitors also perceive the presence of odours as a lack of cleanliness and an indication of the overall quality of care being delivered within an aged care facility.
Human waste odours, body odours, and odours associated with wound infections and UTIs are all present within most aged care homes, but the prevalence of these unpleasant odours can be significantly reduced.
VIRUSKILLER™ utilises a combination of activated carbon filters and the decontamination power of the Reactor Chamber as a world-class odour control solution.
Andrea Buckley, Registered Manager of the UK’s Rough Lee Home, was quick to highlight the improvements in odour and morale since implementing VIRUSKILLER™ air purifiers in their aged care facility.
Older people deserve to live in environments where the air that they breathe does not increase the risk of negative health outcomes or have a negative impact on their personal sense of dignity.
With air hygiene solutions like VIRUSKILLER™ now readily available in Australia, aged care providers need to consider air quality an essential element of hygiene protocols within their homes.
The value of health and happiness does not deteriorate with age.
*When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass.