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The Loving Care Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Bloodborne Pathogens

11/23/2021

  Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms that can be present in human blood. The main concern associated with bloodborne pathogens is that they lead to diseases such as Hepatitis B, C, and HIV. As caregivers, we need to be aware that these pathogens could be present in bodily fluids and take the necessary precautions when potentially exposed to them.

  The CDC estimates that approximately 5.6 million healthcare workers are at risk for exposure. Common risks of exposure include needlesticks, cuts from contaminated sharps, mucous membrane contact, and contact of contaminated blood with broken skin. When exposed to blood or other potentially infected materials (OPIM), we need to observe the following precautions:

-Treat all blood and bodily fluids as if they are contaminated

-Properly clean up and decontaminate all of the surfaces exposed to them

At Loving Home Care, there are several practices in place to control exposures. These practices include receiving training, using personal protective equipment (PPE), proper cleanup, decontamination, and disposal of potentially infected materials.

  PPE is our most valuable line of defense against pathogen transmission. PPE includes gloves, masks, aprons, face shields and safety glasses. It is extremely important to use PPE and to clean/disinfect all contaminated surfaces. Regulated waste, such as blood, needs to be disposed of in a red leak-proof or biohazard bag and sharps in a closable, puncture resistant container.

  Unfortunately, there is not currently a vaccine available to protect people from Hepatitis C and HIV, but a Hepatitis B vaccine is available and offered to all potentially exposed employees. In the case of exposure, it is advised to:

-Wash the affected area with soap and water

-Flush the nose, mouth, or skin with water

-Irrigate the eyes with water and saline

-Report the exposure immediately and seek a healthcare professional for treatment.

The threat of bloodborne pathogens is ongoing, but following these simple procedures, the risk of transmission is limited.

OTIEC Resources Workgroup. (2017). Bloodborne Pathogens Slide Presentation. OSHA.

Bloodborne Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C. (2016, September 6). In Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/bbp/default.html

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

11/09/2021

  Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that affects more than six million Americans. It is a form of dementia that deteriorates the brain over time, ultimately leading to cell death and tissue loss. As the number of people with Alzheimer’s diseases increases, so does the need for social awareness.

Advances in technology have enabled scientists to identify the presence of  Alzheimer’s disease through brain scan imaging. Research suggests that proteins in the brain called beta-amyloid's clump together and form plaques that tangle up between nerve cells. These tangles block signals that affect memory, thoughts, speech and feelings (alz.org). It’s important to understand how dementia impacts the brain so that we, as caregivers, can understand what it’s like. When we understand the science behind the illness, the behavior of someone with Alzheimer’s disease seems less strange. Understanding how dementia impacts the brain helps us to develop empathy towards them and become more accepting. This helps us see the person, not the diagnosis, and prepares us to better meet their needs with compassion (bestfriendsapproach.com).

  There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, however, the FDA has recently granted accelerated approval for a new medication called Aducanumab that reduces amyloid deposits (alzheimers.gov). Though this medication provides hope, it has not been proven to affect the clinical symptoms associated with dementia or cognitive decline. Loving Home Care believes that by developing authentic relationships with people with dementia, a positive connection will ultimately be formed that brings them a sense of peace and security.

Troxel, D., & Bell, V. (2021). About the best friends approach. In Best friends approach. Retrieved from https://bestfriendsapproach.com/.../about-the-best.../

What is Alzheimer's Disease. (2021). In Alzheimer's Association. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/.../what-is-alzheimers/brain_tour_part_2

What is Alzheimer's Disease?. (n.d.). In U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.alzheimers.gov/alzheimers.../alzheimers-disease