Residential care homes are the forgotten front line of our medical support network. Often staff working in these areas are dealing with the most vulnerable patients without access to high grade technical systems and protection. At the same time, the main hospital network often decants patients to free up capability, so there is a real risk of infections arriving with a new patient, in a similar manner as the risk that exists in accident and emergency departments.
Well run residential care, with residents being treated with excellent infection control routines, including shielded isolation, have still seen disease ‘move’ around the care home environment. Sometimes this has occurred at a rapid and devastating pace. Coronavirus has been a wild fire, spreading unchecked in some homes, despite excellent care and control measures.
The most likely reason for this in well run homes, is the asymptomatic release of droplet nuclei through respiration or through CPAP devices being used for sleep apnea. These sub 5um particles can remain in non ventilated room air for unto 28 days without touching a surface and travel up to 148 metres or more via micro convection currents.
The ideal response would be to fit an Airsentry® system to each room but at the moment this would be too costly. Fitting lower grade units may help but if these are below an assured HEPA14 grade, they may well not offer the protection claimed. Likewise many claims are made for plasma, UV-C etc but all of these systems have a weakness, exposure time. You need air to go through the system for them to work, as you also do with HEPA, and Air Sentry® is the only system available that generates assured whole room air currents whilst being regulatory compliant.
Our solution is one that works, whilst still offering the option of having a system per room, if required. Most residential care homes have corridor areas and we are able to make the corridor equivalent to the airlock used in ICU isolation areas. A single Air Sentry® unit can maintain corridor air as Ultra Clean™. As the corridor is at the same pressure as individual residents rooms, each time a door opens, air exchange occurs via diffusion. The higher particle concentration of the room air flows into the corridor area, as occurs already with the current transmission vector.
This means that a single system can maintain a corridor as Ultra Clean™ but also reduce the biological load in individual residents rooms, without needing to be stationed in each one individually. This helps prevent disease transfer around the care environment, whilst also reducing viral loading or biological loading to staff, many of whom do not have respiratory protection.
The system used can be fixed or mobile, the latter making for greater versatility and improved access for servicing.