How can care homes deal with COVID-19 and protect staff?
The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic has created difficulties for people and businesses from all walks of life across the globe, but care home residents and staff have faced additional challenges.
With advice on responses to the pandemic shifting daily, it can be difficult to stay on top of current guidelines, but there are some ways care homes can help protect their staff from COVID-19. Here is the most up-to-date advice for care home managers to keep their employees safe in line with government guidelines
Supply Personal Protective Equipment
The first thing the UK Government advises care homes is to ensure that all staff members have access to the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). For care home workers delivering personal care to any resident, this should include the following:
- Disposable Gloves
- Disposable Plastic Apron
- Fluid Repellent Surgical Masks
On top of these three key items, eye protection is also recommended for any member of staff who risk droplets of fluid from residents reaching their eyes, such as those team members interacting with patients with a repetitive cough. When working in other areas of the care home and not directly offering personal care, all staff need to wear a type II surgical mask.
It is essential to use high-quality PPE to effectively reduce the spread of the virus. As a trusted British manufacturer, all Wearwell workwear meets stringent quality standards.
Good Hygiene & Sanitation
Quality workwear and PPE should not be a replacement for good hygiene and sanitation, and care home workers should be reminded to regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. This is essential to ensure the virus does not contaminate the surface of PPE equipment. It also means that if there is a breach of PPE such as a ripped apron or a staff member momentarily forgetting to wear gloves, it is unlikely to have serious consequences.
On top of this, employers should remind care workers to not touch their face or mouth, and ensure all PPE is disposed of in a hygienic way so as to avoid further contamination.
Self-Isolate When Required
Staff also need to self-isolate if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 10 days since symptoms first started. It is up to staff member to take responsibility for their own health and notify a senior member of staff of any symptoms as soon as possible.
Likewise, if a positive COVID-19 test result comes back, managers need to ensure staff are isolating for the given time period and only return to work once they have fully recovered from the virus and have a negative test result.