Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming! Allow the experts at Nightingale Homecare to help.

Posts Tagged “Infection Prevention”

Signs and Symptoms of Infection

in home care Phoenix AZ

Learn the top signs of infection to watch for in your senior loved ones.

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They’re normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.

Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. Others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infections may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization.

Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from most infectious diseases.
Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms, but there are some generalized indicators that an infection may be present across the board, such as:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughing

Below are some particular signs and symptoms you may see, in addition to, or instead of the ones listed above, based upon certain types of infection. Be sure to contact your senior loved one’s physician if any of these signs are noted:

WOUND/INCISION

  • Increased pain at or around the wound
  • Increased drainage from the wound site
  • Drainage with foul odor
  • Change in color of drainage, especially with yellow or green color and foul odor
  • Fever of 101 degrees or greater
  • Significant increase in redness and warmth around the wound

RESPIRATORY

  • Shaking, chills, fever (100 to 104 degrees)
  • Chest pain
  • Productive cough, with green, thick yellow/tan or blood tinged sputum
  • Dry, hacking non-productive cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • White or pale blue skin tone around the lips

URINARY

  • Pain in bladder region or lower back
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Frequency
  • Urgency
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent voiding at night
  • Cloudy, foul smelling urine
  • Blood in urine

The best way to combat infection, however, is through prevention. Taking these precautions can help:

PREVENTION OF INFECTION

  • Thoroughly wash hands before and after contact with open body secretions or drainage
  • Wear gloves when in contact with body fluids or drainage
  • Keep all wound or drainage supplies covered and in a clean area
  • Keep young children, pets, and pests away from supplies
  • Double bag all soiled dressings or disposables that have come in contact with body fluids
  • Clean and disinfect all equipment appropriately
  • Avoid contact with those who have a respiratory or other communicable infection

Helping older adults remain healthy, safe and well is our goal at Nightingale Homecare, and we’re always on hand to partner with families to provide resources, tips, and the professional in home care Phoenix AZ seniors need. Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 with questions or to schedule a free consultation, right in the comfort of home, to learn more ways we can help enhance quality of life for your senior loved one!

Control the Spread of Infection with These Isolation Precautions

Phoenix senior care

The Phoenix senior care professionals share important information on isolation precautions.

Most of us are familiar with standard precautions when caring for a sick loved one – the minimum infection prevention practices that should be used in the care of all patients, all of the time. These practices are designed to protect both the caregiver and others from the spread of infection.Standard precautions such as good hand washing before and after caring for a patient, are the “common sense” infection control guidelines caregivers follow as they perform daily tasks with their patients, and they apply to all patients receiving care, no matter their diagnosis.

Caregivers should also assume that all blood, body fluids, secretions, open wounds and mucous membranes contain an infection, and use:

  • Gloves as needed to protect hands
  • Gowns as needed to protect skin and clothing
  • Masks as needed to protect the nose and mouth

Isolation precautions are a step up from standard precautions, and are implemented for those germs that are highly contagious. Isolation precautions help stop the spread of germs from one person to another and create barriers between people and germs. Different types of isolation precautions protect against different types of germs.

There are three types of isolation precautions, depending upon the type of germ:

  • Contact
  • Airborne
  • Droplet

The patient’s physician or healthcare worker will instruct you on which type of precaution must be taken. A posting outside the patient’s room will instruct all caregivers and visitors on the details listed below. All caregivers and visitors need to follow these guidelines.

CONTACT PRECAUTIONS

Diseases that are spread by contact transmission are spread by people directly or indirectly touching the germ. If your loved one is on contact precautions, it means gloves and gowns must be worn for all contact with the patient.

For Contact Precautions:

  • Caregivers will also follow standard precautions.
  • Patients should be in a room apart from other people who are not infected.
  • Expect all people who come in contact with the patient to wear a gown and gloves.
  • Gowns and gloves will be disposed of just before the caregiver leaves the area.
  • Personal items, such as vital sign equipment, phones, computers, etc. will not be brought into the patient’s room.
  • All equipment the caregivers use will be disinfected.

AIRBORNE PRECAUTIONS

Some diseases are known to be spread through the air. This means that the germs that cause these diseases are so tiny that they can float into the air for long periods of time. These germs can also “catch a ride” on dust particles, traveling wherever the dust particles go. Airborne diseases are very contagious since the germs can travel a long way and be breathed in by many people.

For Airborne Precautions:

  • Caregivers will also follow standard precautions.
  • Patients should be in a room apart from others who are not infected.
  • The door to the room must be kept closed.
  • Masks must be worn by anyone who enters the room.
  • Special respirator masks will be worn for some diseases like tuberculosis.
  • Patients should cover their nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Patients should use a surgical mask if they are around uninfected people for short periods of time.
  • Patients should avoid going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.

DROPLET PRECAUTIONS

Some diseases are spread through droplet transmission. These germs fly through the air, but are too heavy to float and drop quickly, usually traveling no more than three feet. These diseases are commonly spread during coughing, sneezing and talking.

For Droplet Precautions:

  • Caregivers will also follow standard precautions.
  • Patients should be in a room apart from others who are not infected.
  • Caregivers will wear a surgical mask when working within three feet of the patient.
  • Patients will wear a surgical mask if they need to be around uninfected people for short periods of time.
  • The patient should avoid going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.

The caregivers from our Phoenix home health agency are fully trained and experienced in infection prevention. Contact Nightingale Homecare to learn more about our in-home care services for seniors and for more tips and resources on helping improve quality of life, health and overall wellbeing for your senior loved ones.