Given the vulnerability of their residents, nursing homes and frail care facilities need to ensure that indoor air is of the highest quality. Read our latest blog post to find out why VIRUSKILLER™ is the best air purification solution for elderly care and nursing homes.
Elderly care, nursing homes, and frail care facilities are places for the elderly and infirm to live in comfort and with dignity. Every care should therefore be taken to ensure the safety of these facilities.
Interior plants in healthcare facilities
There have been a number of studies which have found that introducing interior plants to nursing homes and elderly care facilities have a positive effect on the residents’ wellbeing.
For example, a Finnish study conducted in nursing homes for people with dementia found that plants created a lush, homelike atmosphere and improved the quality of indoor air – according to the survey respondents.
They reported a noticeable contribution to the psychological and social well-being of the residents by including plants. The plants stimulated residents’ senses, created positive emotions, and offered opportunities for rewarding activity.
Whilst we know that indoor plants can have a positive effect on the quality of indoor air, plants alone – unfortunately – are not enough to meet the unique challenges that this sector faces regarding indoor air quality.
What causes such poor indoor air quality?
While most untreated indoor spaces have high levels of air pollution, many elderly care and nursing home facilities have truly distressing concentrations of harmful airborne pathogens. These concentrations can — and often do — far exceed international standards for acceptability and safety.
This can be caused, paradoxically, by the pursuit of the comfort of residents. Care homes feature crucial quality-of-life factors in layout, furniture, décor, and temperature control that can, exacerbate the build-up and persistence of indoor air pollutants.
Add to this the facts that many residents spend the majority of their time indoors, and that by nature the elderly and infirm are particularly vulnerable to the risks associated with indoor air pollution, and you have a truly worrying combination: high pollution concentration, high exposure, and high vulnerability.
This has always been true of these types of facilities, but it’s been the Coronavirus pandemic that has driven the skyrocketing demand for clean air in elderly care facilities.
Major risks of poor indoor air quality
Not taking adequate precautions to ensure the quality of indoor air means putting the residents of nursing homes and frail care facilities at risk of the following:
1. Spread of airborne viruses
Viruses have always been a major threat in enclosed spaces where vulnerable people gather and interact. Aged and elderly residents who live in care facilities suffer the largest proportion of deaths relating to viral illness and influenza.
The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic saw record numbers of deaths, not only disproportionately in the elderly, but overwhelmingly and specifically in nursing homes and senior living facilities around the world.
Viruses as a precursor to pneumonia
Pneumonia can be caused by several different pathogens, including airborne bacteria and respiratory viruses, such as influenza, coronaviruses, and rhinovirus. It is the most frequent cause of death for residents in elderly care facilities, and is more common among residents of elderly care facilities than among elderly persons living at home.
2. Respiratory illnesses
Respiratory muscle strength decreases with age and a lack of physical activity can predispose senior citizens to respiratory illness. This means that exposure to indoor air pollution is far more of a threat to the respiratory health of the elderly and infirm than it is to young and healthy individuals.
These risks have been observed around the world, even in care facilities where the concentration of indoor air pollutants did not exceed international guidelines. High concentrations of indoor air pollutants have been linked to higher rates of hospital admissions among the elderly.
3. Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths globally. Changes in the heart and blood vessels due to ageing can put people over the age of 65 at risk of heart disease, and exposure to airborne pollutants increase this risk by increasing blood pressure — the primary cause of cardiovascular disease.
How VIRUSKILLER™ can protect against these risks:
A host of filtration, neutralization and decontamination technologies are required to provide air that is free from the pathogens that can cause viral and respiratory illness. Each VIRUSKILLER™ air purification model is equipped with our triple filter system — a pre-filter, carbon filter, and high-grade HEPA filter — to tackle particulate matter and VOCs, while the patented Reactor Chamber breaks down bio-aerosols and organic matter that might otherwise escape filtration.
Even short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) can greatly increase the chances of stroke and hospital admissions among the elderly. VIRUSKILLER™ employs multiple layers of mechanical filtration to remove PM from the air, while the activated carbon filter removes carbon monoxide (CO), which is known to cause coronary artery disease.
VIRUSKILLER™ airflow control ensures the protection of the breathing zone in a room, helping to minimise cross-infection between the healthy and the sick. The filters act as a first line of defence, and thereafter the Reactor Chamber efficiently decontaminates air in real-time.
Age-related hormone changes can lead to increased body odour, while incontinence and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common among the elderly, and can lead to strong, unpleasant odours in nursing homes and care facilities. These are a major source of discomfort and embarrassment for residents, staff, and visitors.
Odour is one of the factors that can influence staff workplace satisfaction and morale. Odour is also a significant measure of perceived indoor air quality as well as cleanliness. The combination of an activated carbon filter and the decontamination power of the Reactor Chamber in the VIRUSKILLER™ acts as a world-class odour control solution.
If you are serious about resident wellbeing, then consider introducing VIRUSKILLER™ to your elderly care facility or nursing homes today. Not only will installing a VIRUSKILLER™ provide the aforementioned health benefits to the elderly residents and their caregivers, it will also provide reassurance and peace of mind that the most vulnerable in our society are being given the best levels of care.
Contact Ambius today for a free survey and quote of your elderly care facility.