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Hydrotherapy Pool Water Safety

Managing Hydrotherapy Pool Water Safety

Hydrotherapy pool water safety is not an issue to be ignored as such facilities can present increased risks to patients, staff and others, especially if the water used in them is not managed and maintained correctly.

Typical water temperatures used in hydrotherapy pools are higher than those recommended for swimming pools and this can create more favourable conditions for the growth and proliferation of several waterborne pathogens.

These can include Legionella bacteria, E .coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Coliforms, Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium species, along with less common infections such as amoebal, parasitic and other gastrointestinal infections, furunculosis (caused by Staphylococcus aureus) and Molluscum contagiosum (a viral skin infection producing papillomas).

Whatever the reason for having a hydrotherapy pool, there are a number of important issues that need to be considered that will help pool owners, managers and operators manage the risks associated with them to keep staff and patients safe, and comply with the law.

Monitoring Water Temperatures

It’s essential to have a process for keeping accurate records of pool water temperatures.

Measurements should be taken twice every day and recorded in a log book.

The water temperature should be kept at a steady level between 35.5°C and 36°C. For safety reasons it should never be allowed to exceed 38°C.

There are many neurological conditions which prevent patients recognising changes in temperature, and they may not notice that the water is too hot.

There is another group of patients whose health could deteriorate further if they are exposed to too much heat.

This group includes people with heart or lung conditions.

Additionally, if the water temperature drops, this can exacerbate a range of conditions such as chilblains and Raynaud’s disease.

illuminated pool

Effective hydrotherapy pool maintenance

It’s vital to have a written schedule for testing and maintenance your hydrotherapy pool.

You will need to develop a routine for testing the pool water every day, and find an independent, accredited specialist such as Acorn Environment Services to perform the appropriate microbiology tests.

Your water testing and inspection policy should record what actions you take together with the standard of the water at the start of the day and the number of patients who are treated in the water during each session.

Patients and staff shouldn’t be in the water for more than an hour, and it’s usually best to split sessions into three blocks of 15 minutes each with a break between to reduce the risk of pool soiling.

Work out how and where you are going to store your sampling kits, to keep them in a good state. Always use equipment in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, and train staff fully.

Contact Acorn today to discuss a water management programme for your property.

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dog in hydrotherapy pool

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a therapeutic treatment involving water at various temperatures and pressures designed to provoke a response from the human body. It typically involves the use of standard swimming pools, hot tubs, spa pools or specially constructed physiotherapy tanks.

These sorts of pools are often found in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, care homes and residential facilities, whether funded publicly or by charitable donations.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, by managing systems where legionella is most likely found. Secondly, contacting a professional who can complete treatment on sources where the risk of legionella is high is also advised.

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted when water droplets containing Legionella bacteria enter a person’s lungs.

There is currently no cap on fines for Legionella. However, examples show companies being fined nearly £2 million after failing a legionella test

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