A year ago at this time, the world was even more uncertain than it is now. Families were not gathering for the holidays and the decision of whether to see elderly family members became a difficult one for many.
Long-term care facilities like ours in Ohio and across the country were in the middle of restructuring our health and safety plans to better protect our residents and staff against future outbreaks and health threats.
Across our industry, providers continue to evaluate the best ways to move forward based on their own unique set of circumstances. We all continue to make the most informed decisions possible for the good of our residents and staff.
Their protection is and always will be our first responsibility.
Let me be clear, that everyone should do their own research, adopt practices and invest in solutions that make the most sense for their residents and their facilities. With that said, we found something here that works, and I would be remiss not to share.
At Country Inn Enhanced Living Center, we invested in air and surface purification technology called Microbial Area Kleeners (or MAK) that were installed throughout our facility. We did extensive research trying to find a reliable technology, and we met with multiple companies before selecting one from nearby Dayton, Ohio.
The systems we now use incorporate “ACTIVE” technology that continually produces hydrogen peroxide plasma to seek out and eliminate viruses, including COVID-19 and other microbial contaminants found in the air and on surfaces. For us, that means an added layer of protection that is constantly circulating in our facility, killing germs and viruses, in addition to our normal cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
We linked our units into our existing HVAC system, which provides facility-wide coverage to our staff and 40 residents.
There are a number of systems out there now, and every facility has to find what’s right for them, but here’s what I can tell you: Our rate of illness at the facility among residents and staff has dropped significantly from previous years (that’s flu, COVID and other viral bugs). The air quality in the facility is noticeably improved, and our staff and families feel more at ease knowing we have this system in place.
We still clean, disinfect and have several other processes and protocols in place as part of our overall health and safety plan but we believe the addition of these systems gives us a layer of protection that is making a real difference for our staff and residents.
I’m sure many of my colleagues in the long-term care industry have found other solutions that are right for them. If we all share best practices, we will continue to provide the best protection and care for the people and families we serve.
Kenny Thomas is the director of facilities at Country Inn Enhanced Living in Paulding, OH.
The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.