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Design of long-term care homes impacts number of outbreaks

The design of the long-term care facility where you or your loved ones call home plays a role in the number of outbreaks experienced.

Ottawa has 28 long term care homes, with approximately 60 outbreaks a year.

Dr. Carolyn Pim, the city's associate medical officer of health, said older facilities are likely to have more communal spaces.

"If they all, because of the layout, need to be in one space, as opposed to maybe in smaller groups they can be observed, there's more likelihood that there's going to be transmission because you just have more people together."

She said more sinks are a welcome addition.

"For hand washing, both by residents and particularly by staff as well, the easier that you can make it for people, to do hand washing, the more likely they are to do proper hand hygiene."

Between 2011 and 2014, both the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre and Extendicare West End Villa topped the list with 15 outbreaks.

Pim explained public health officials have switched from a broad, one-size fits all action plan, to working directly with each facility to help minimize the number of outbreaks.

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