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Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and different types of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal problems are some of the usual health and medical conditions that the elderly in the UK are afflicted with. The elderly also tend to be more prone to various types of lung-related diseases since their respiratory and immune systems are not as strong as they once were.

Since the elderly are at risk of easily developing or contracting respiratory diseases, care home owners and administrators need to implement the right practices and policies to minimise this possibility. They have to be particularly vigilant against Legionella bacteria – the particular strain of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever, potentially fatal respiratory diseases in the elderly.

Implementing routine Legionella testing for care homes far outweighs any potential health and legal risks involved from not carrying it out. Regular testing will help prevent potential and sometimes fatal outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease and it will aid greatly in safeguarding the health and well-being of all care home residents.

Legionella testing is fairly easy to do. Simply order a Legionella water testing kit, fill the bottles with sample water, and send it back to the supplier for laboratory testing and analysis. However, there are some important tips to keep in mind during the water collection and sample pickup process. These are:

• If you want the facility’s drinking or potable water tested such as drinking water fountains, taps and showers, collect both hot and cold samples. It is best to collect the “pre-flush or first draw” sample.

• Make sure you properly label the bottle. Provide all correct information on any accompanying paperwork you will have to complete and send back. Be honest and do not hide any pertinent detail when answering some key questions as well.

• If you already suspect the presence of Legionella in your water storage or system, observe personal safety and precautions during sampling. Wear a mask to avoid breathing aerosols that may be contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. Avoid generating aerosols or water mists during sampling of a shower by enclosing the showerhead in a new, clean sandwich bag and snipping off the corner to channel the water in to the sample bottle.

• Lastly, tightly cap all the sample bottles. Make sure that water will not leak during transportation and shipping. Follow all the instructions on the manufacturer’s testing kit for sample collection.

Regular water testing isn’t a time-consuming or difficult job. Make it part of your care home’s routine standard operating procedure to ensure the health of your residents. You can also get more details and advice regarding Legionella water testing in care homes from us here at AquaCert.