In the United States alone, there are 5 million senior citizens in nursing homes. In Israel, the population of elderly, aged 65 and over, is growing rapidly. In 2017, the elderly population of Israel crossed the 1-million line, amounting to about 11.6% of the total population.
But what are we doing to protect this layer of the population from the threat of coronavirus and other dangerous infectious diseases? After all, it is the elderly who are in the most vulnerable position to catch these illnesses.
Probability of dying from coronavirus:
for 60-69 year olds – 3.6%
for 70-79 year olds – 8%
Elderly people aged 80+ are at the greatest risk, for them the probability of dying (in case they catch the Coronavirus) is 22%.
In addition, people with pre existing conditions such as respiratory system diseases, cardiovascular system diseases and diabetes are at a higher risk than healthy people. But it is precisely in old age that these complications are particularly prevalent.
Washington State as an example
At least 273 cases of coronavirus infection and most deaths (30 out of 38) occurred in Washington State. The main metropolis of this state – Seattle and its environs (total population – about 4 million people) became the largest outbreak of coronavirus in US.
19 of those 38 deaths in the state occurred at ‘Life Care Center’ – a nursing home located in Kirkland, a satellite city of Seattle with a population of about 90,000 people.
But why exactly did nursing homes become one of the most active distribution channels for coronavirus?
- Coronavirus carries an increased danger for the elderly and those whose body is weakened by chronic diseases. There are almost no elderly people without chronic illnesses, so patients in nursing homes are doubly vulnerable.
- The staff is in very close contact with the elderly. The staff themselves travel from the nursing home to other, less isolated locations where they are exposed to possible infection. Part of the staff, due to poor hand hygiene, will bring the infection to work.
Nursing homes need to adapt to new realities
- Each staff representative should wash their hands efficiently and at appropriate intervals.
- We must ensure the greatest possible isolation of the elderly from the outside world, but at the same time, we must give them the opportunity to feel needed and protected.
- If you want to help and act as a volunteer, contact your local nursing home, social services or community charity organizations to see where you can contribute.
Soapy offers a unique solution for monitoring the hygiene of staff and patients. A smart micro-station for washing hands, which provides the right amount of water and reagents for washing hands and enables washing without touching a faucet.
Micro-station also helps in ensuring that the hand-washing is performed correctly every time.