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Care England backs call for testing of airborne illnesses

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Care England has backed a call for robust testing of airborne illnesses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) across care homes this winter.

Healthcare company Abbott said airborne illnesses beyond COVID-19 and influenza must be part of prevention strategies in care homes to reduce hospitalisation of residents.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive at Care England, said: “It is helpful to raise awareness of other airborne diseases that care home staff, residents and visitors might be unfamiliar with. Before the pandemic, not many people had heard the term ‘coronavirus’, but increased awareness has helped most understand why safety precautions and testing are of paramount importance in the care sector.

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“We are fully aware of the immense pressure care homes are under as we head into the winter season, but the first line of defence against lesser-known airborne diseases – like RSV – is ensuring care staff are aware of it, increasing education on the symptoms, and ensuring testing is in place wherever possible.”

Abbott’s ID NOW portable instrument, which is used for front-line testing in health settings, provides results for COVID-19, influenza A&B, strep A and RSV, within minutes.

Gabriela Zackova, director of Dementia and Wellbeing at Loveday & Co Care Homes, said: “We’re excited to be using this point of care test for our staff, residents and their visitors. Last year, winter was one of the hardest times for our sector, not only due to the increased pressure to keep people safe, but also for our residents, who were separated from the people they love which had a significant impact on their wellbeing and mental health.

“ID NOW is a small, lightweight machine, about the size of a toaster, that will allow us to make even better decisions about risk levels for numerous viruses, enabling us to provide a more robust screening process for everyone at the facility.”

Tags : Infection Control
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The author Lee Peart

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