Legionella control in care homes is an important issue. Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause a severe form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires' disease. The elderly and people with underlying illnesses are particularly vulnerable to Legionnaires' disease, so it is essential for care homes to take appropriate measures to prevent the growth and spread of Legionella.
Care Home, Legionnaires disease and UK Law – what you need to do.
The following are some key steps that care homes can take to control Legionella:
1. Risk assessment: A risk assessment should be undertaken to identify potential sources of Legionella within the care home. This assessment should consider all water systems including water tanks, showers, and thermostatic mixing valves.
2. Written scheme of control: A written scheme should be written and adopted to include regular water temperature monitoring, ensuring water system turnover, and relevant areas are adequately cleaned. Legionella should be considered dependant on the building history, findings of the risk assessment, and vulnerability of the service-users.
3. Water systems design and maintenance: Water systems should be designed and maintained to prevent the build-up of bio-film. This includes regular maintenance of all water systems and the removal of any dead-end pipes. Due to the high ambient temperature of care homes, it may be prudent to utilise chlorine dioxide as a secondary control.
4. Staff training: Care home staff should be trained on the prevention and control of Legionella. This includes understanding the symptoms of Legionnaires' disease, how to implement risk assessments, and an understanding of routine procedures. This can be achieved by sending staff on a Legionella awareness training course.
Legionnaires risk assessment
Do you need a Legionnaires assessment?
Uk law and how to achieve legionella compliance.
Legionella control in care homes is a vital issue that needs to be taken seriously. The above-listed steps can help prevent the growth and spread of Legionella in these facilities, ensuring the health and safety of residents and staff. It is important for care homes to continuously review and update their Legionella management protocols to keep the legionella risk adequately controlled.