Cutting edge technology to reduce covid risk in london care homes

  • Residents to be protected from existing and emerging viruses thanks to cutting edge air purifiers.
  • The units are being installed in 14 care homes in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster after air quality assessments.
  • The councils are believed to be the first known local authorities in the country to do assessments of this kind and install the technology.

Care homes in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster will be kitted out with new technology which could reduce the risk of residents catching Covid19, flu and other airborne viruses.

In what is understood to be a UK first, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council are investing in high performance High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) purification units after separate, specialist research commissioned by the councils recommended a range of enhanced infection control measures.

Cllr Cem Kemahli, Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health at Kensington and Chelsea Council, said:

“Protecting each other from Covid19 has been the nation’s top task over the last 18 months but it doesn’t stop now. As winter approaches we need to make sure those who are most vulnerable to viruses have the best defences to keep them safe. All our care homes have worked with us to put the findings from our air quality research into practice. This new air purifier technology is a really exciting development, significantly reducing risk from airborne viruses, protecting our care home residents and care workers.”

Cllr Tim Mitchell, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Public Health and Adult Social Care at Westminster City Council, said:

“Infectious disease can quickly spread within care homes as residents are often more susceptible. We knew there would be bigger challenges ahead as we move towards winter and it would be more difficult to provide ventilation by opening windows whilst keeping each setting at a comfortable temperature. We have followed recommendations in these reports to review our enhanced infection control measures which included developing comprehensive air quality hazard control plans.”

Over the past 18 months, Adult Social Care staff, Public Health professionals and NHS colleagues have provided specialist support and advice to help care homes manage the risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In May 2021 safe air quality surveys were commissioned in care homes and a range of recommendations were made on where air quality could be further improved. This included developing air quality hazard control plans, revisiting enhanced cleaning procedures, looking at ways to improve natural ventilation and creating clean air zones.

Ellesmere House, owned by Care UK, is one of the first in the borough to have one of the air purification units installed.

Zoe Smith, Registered Manager at Ellesmere House, said:

“I feel reassured that we are able to provide air purifiers, knowing that we are doing everything we possibly can to protect our residents, staff and visitors from catching Covid-19, Flu and other airborne viruses.”

Roger Martin, Applied Scientist and Indoor Air Quality Consultant at Safeairquality Ltd who provided the risk assessments, said:

“In places where people could be more vulnerable a comprehensive air quality hazard control plan is important. We worked closely with the University of West London and Natural History Museum’s core genetics department to identify specific areas within each care home that can benefit greatly by reducing, even completely removing, the chance of airborne disease transmission by creating clean air zones.”

Christian Lickett, Managing Director at Commercial Air Filtration, said:

“Ventilating is an essential part of controlling indoor air quality in regard to Covid-19. In many indoor environments, and especially in places where people might be more vulnerable, ventilation can easily be supplemented with high-quality HEPA filtration to further reduce viral contamination in the ambient air. The IQAir air purifiers offer medical-grade HEPA filtration. As air passes through the unit, virtually all particulate pollution – including airborne viruses – are filtered out.”

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