Legionella is a waterborne bacteria which can cause some serious, and potentially fatal, illnesses. Though Legionella Bacteria can be found in many natural bodies of water, it becomes a serious threat when it gets into purpose-built water delivery systems – for example, hot- and cold-water systems, shower heads, sprinkler systems, or cooling towers. The bacteria are spread around by tiny water droplets which are breathed in by anyone nearby, leading, in the worst cases, to Legionnaires’ Disease – a very dangerous form of pneumonia. People who are most at risk include smokers, heavy drinkers, people suffering from chronic lung or kidney diseases, people with diabetes, people with impaired immune systems, and the elderly.
Since the elderly and those with immune system deficiencies are most at risk, it’s absolutely crucial that particular consideration is given to water systems in care homes (Not to mention that it’s a legal duty for care home owners and/ or managers to protect residents from harmful bacteria under both The Health & Safety at Work Act and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations). This includes having a competent person undertake a legionella risk assessment; implementing appropriate testing and monitoring measures; and regularly reviewing, and documenting, established control measures.
However, this alone, isn’t enough.
As was the case at a Care Home in Brentwood in 2015, when an elderly resident died after contracting Legionnaires’ Disease from the taps in his bathroom. A subsequent investigation found that two separate risk assessments at the care home had concluded that the Care Home Manager was not adequately trained in Legionella Awareness. This oversight cost the care home over £3million in fines, not to mention the life of an elderly man – who had only lived in the care home for 3 months prior to his death, showing how much of a risk legionella bacteria can be to vulnerable people. It also highlights just how important even a basic understanding of Legionella can be; had the manager been properly trained, a resident’s death could have been prevented.
Legionella Awareness Training
Our CPD accredited Legionella Awareness Training can be completed online in just 25 minutes and provides instant certificates upon completion. You can get started at any time with a free, no obligation trial of our course.
If you would like to learn more about Legionella Bacteria, where it is found and Legionnaires Disease then visit the Legionella Hub for more information.