The Importance of Water Quality in Assisted Living
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen you think of a place where delicate hearts and minds need special care, what is your first thought?
If you were thinking about a school, you’re likely not alone. But there is a certain faction at the opposite end of the spectrum where such a need also applies.
Whether you already have a loved one in an assisted living residence in the Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland, or you are in the phase of choosing one, what questions should you be asking about the facilities and its water supply?
Lead Pipes in Nursing Homes
How old is your targeted assisted living establishment? Many nursing homes are built on private well sites, which do not require any regulation from the EPA. While the majority of documentation as related to lead poisoning is with children, lead is not good for anyone, particularly seniors with weaker immune systems.
Ask the provider if the facility is on municipal water or if it has its own system. If the nursing home does use well water, does it have proper prevention measures in place, such as backflow prevention devices, updated well caps that are vented, insect and vermin proof.
Contingency and emergency planning for possible contamination is also important, as there should be alternative options available in the event of a well problem.
Legionnaire’s Disease in Nursing Homes
Legionnaire’s is an atypical pneumonia caused by bacteria found in fresh water. Outbreaks of the disease in nursing homes have been well-documented over the past decade in the news, particularly when deaths are involved.
A study in 2015 of more than 2,800 cases of the disease found that 533 (19%) of cases occurred specifically in a health care facility, such as a hospital and nursing home.
The CDC has openly requested that all health care facilities do more to protect its plumbing systems from possible contamination. Ask your facility provider to provide you details on how regularly the disinfectant and chemical levels are monitored.
Filtered Water Quality in Assisted Living Facilities
Other naturally-occurring pathogens can cause issues with impaired immune systems, such as the elderly. Generally, Americans are growing worried about polluted drinking water. Many nursing homes use on-tap filtered water systems and/or have bottled water delivery on hand for its residents to have easy access to.
Ask if the assisted living establishment your loved ones are considering are residing in uses a filter system. Taking care of one of the most essential elements for sustainable human life can help establish trust between all parties involved. A facility that invests in the health of its residents is a good sign that it takes itself seriously as an establishment.