Archive for the ‘Elderly – Infection’ Category
Posted on October 27, 2009 - by Nurse Virginia
Follow common sense guidelines when caregiving for the elderly to prevent colds, flu and food poisoning
When all is said and done, the best prevention always turns out to be good old soap and water. Whether it is for washing hands or surfaces, soap and water still are the best.
- Hand washing: First line of defense! Every time we have an in-service at our Nursing Home, on preventing infection, we always start with hand washing. Washing your hands often when preparing food, before, during and after. Hand washing after you use the bathroom, change a diaper, clean up after a pet or take out the garbage. When in doubt – wash your hands.
- Clean surfaces: In the bathroom, kitchen and things everyone touches like door knobs, light switches. Especially if someone in the family is currently ill with a cold, cough or flu.
- Keep food hot or cold: Make sure that food is the correct temperature when cooked see: isitdoneyet.gov for safe cooking temperatures. Then keep cooked food hot and refrigerate left over’s immediately after the meal.
- Don’t over use Antibiotics: Antibiotics don’t work against colds and flu as these are viruses not bacterial infections. Over use of Antibiotics make bacteria resistant and harder to treat.
- Wash hands after working with animals: Whether it is an animal at a petting zoo or your own house pet, wash hands after touching animal. And avoid any direct contact with wild animals.
- When working directly with and elder, if you have to cough or sneeze use your sleeve. You even notice now a days where ever you are, that children are being taught not to cover their mouths with their hands when they sneeze, but to cough or sneeze in their sleeve. Doesn’t take too many reminders, and they form the habit that will stay with them all of their lives.
Posted on May 29, 2009 - by Nurse Virginia
6 – Reasons the elderly are more susceptible to infection:
• Their immune system has aged and is not as effective
• The skin is the first line of defense against infection and the aging skin is thinner
• The elderly are usually less hydrated – especially their skin
• Many elderly retain urine – increasing the likelihood of urinary track infection
• The elderly have decreased ability to cough up secretions
• The use of medications that can suppress the elder’s ability to fight infection
The elderly don’t always show signs of infection the way a young healthy person might, with an increase in temperature and increased white cell.
8 – Changes in condition in the elderly that may indicate an infection:
• Increase in confusion
• Becoming incontinent of urine
• No longer being able to do a task they normally do with no problem
• Having problems walking
• Breathing faster
• A change in their appetite
• Worsening of a medical condition they already have
As is always the case – prevention is so much more important when working with the elderly. Washing hands and avoiding highly congested areas where the chance of acquiring an infection is higher are the caregiver’s greatest opportunity for defense.