Pathways Care Limited Covid-19 Guidance

We are reassuring our clients and their families that our staff are following the latest Government and Public Health England (PHE) coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance. Our staff team provides care in people’s homes.

We take our caring responsibility seriously. We are keeping fully up-to-date with official advice, making sure that all our staff understand and follow the very latest COVID-19 guidance for social or community care and residential settings. The guidance PHE recommends that the best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hand and respiratory hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person. Our care and support staff always maintain high standards of hygiene and follow robust infection control guidelines, but given that we care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, during this outbreak we expect them to be extra vigilant about handwashing, coughs and sneezes, and keeping clients’ homes and our care homes clean. The wellbeing of our clients and staff is our highest priority.

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We take our caring responsibility seriously. We are keeping fully up-to-date with official advice, making sure that all our staff understand and follow the very latest COVID-19 guidance for social or community care and residential settings. The guidance PHE recommends that the best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hand and respiratory hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person. Our care and support staff always maintain high standards of hygiene and follow robust infection control guidelines, but given that we care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, during this outbreak we expect them to be extra vigilant about handwashing, coughs and sneezes, and keeping clients’ homes and our care homes clean. The wellbeing of our clients and staff is our highest priority.

 

Policies and procedures in place

We we have robust policies and procedures in place, including business continuity and contingency planning with our public sector health and social care partners and the government Covid-19 Action Plan for Adult Social Care published on 15th April 2020.

All staff have sufficient supply of PPE to enable them and staff have a responsibility to ensure that all PPE is worn and disposed of in line with current guidance.

Training for care staff

All staff would be expected to attend training in relation to Covid-19 and use of PPE.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for home care

Watch this presentation video from Public Health England for general guidance and information on social distancing, shielding, recognising symptoms and self isolation.

PPE for carers – what care workers should wear in home care settings

The guidance covers the support of people using the following care services during “sustained transmission” of COVID-19 (sustained transmission is when infection is widespread)

COVID-19 is generating unprecedented global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). The Government, NHS Supply Chain, and the NHS are doing everything to work with industry to secure additional supplies and manufacture further PPE.

Our procurement and head office teams have been working around the clock to make sure we’re able to get PPE for our care workers and are providing regular updates based on government and Public Health England current advice.

Importance of hand and respiratory hygiene

Please note that the use of PPE is only truly effective where it is combined with:

  • Hand hygiene (cleaning your hands regularly and appropriately) and respiratory hygiene

  • Avoiding touching the face with your hands

  • Following standard infection prevention and control precautions

 

What PPE should be worn by home care workers?

As there is “sustained transmission” of COVID-19, the use of a face mask is required, regardless of whether the person receiving care and support has symptoms or not.

Other items of PPE, such as eye protection, gloves and aprons will be dependent on the task that you are completing as follows:

Providing personal care (whether the person has symptoms or not), OR being within two metres of anyone in the household who is coughing

  • Single use disposable gloves

  • Single use disposable apron

  • Type IIR fluid resistant surgical mask

  • Eye protection (based on risk assessment)

When a home care visit does not require the worker to touch the client, but when they may need to be within two metres of the client (e.g. preparing medicines, preparing meals, domestic cleaning)

  • Type II surgical mask

See the detailed guidance for care workers delivering care from Public health England https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/902356/Domiciliary_guidance_v4_20_Jul.pdf

Use of face masks

Much confusion was caused in the previous guidance because the concept of “sessional use” was not clearly explained in relation to home care services.

Because face masks are intended for the protection of the care worker, the same mask may be worn between different home care visits, if it is safe to do so whilst travelling (eg. on foot or by car or by public transport), so long as the mask does not need to be taken off, or lowered from the face.

Face masks should be discarded and replaced and not be subject to continued use in any of the following circumstances:

  • If damaged

  • If soiled (e.g. with secretions or body fluids)

  • If damp

  • If uncomfortable or causing skin irritation

  • If difficult to breathe through

Previous guidance referred to wearing a face mask during personal care visits and within 2 metres of people in their own homes; the guidance has been updated to include other situations where a mask should be worn; these include:

  • When 2 metres or more away from clients and their household members

  • When in your work premises (office) including communal areas such as kitchens

  • In you office/work space if you come into contact with care workers who deliver care even if you do not deliver care yourself

Eye protection

Eye protection should be used where there is a risk of droplets or secretions from the client’s mouth, nose, lungs or from body fluids reaching the eyes (e.g. caring for someone who is repeatedly coughing or who may be vomiting).

Eye protection can also be used continuously while providing care, unless it needs to be removed from the face (e.g. to take a break from duties, or when driving).

Eye protection should be properly cleaned/sanitised after each use and NOT be subject to continued use in any of the following circumstances:

  • If damaged

  • If soiled (e.g. with secretions, body fluids)

  • If uncomfortable or causing skin irritation

Risk assessments

Risk assessment is required to assess the likelihood of encountering a person with COVID-19, how the infection may be transmitted and when to use PPE.

You must inform your manager to any changes in the condition of people you visit which will help determine when and for which clients or duties you need to wear items such as eye protection or fluid repellent surgical masks.

You might be instructed to wear eye protection and a fluid repellent mask for all the visits you will make that day. This would be appropriate when you are going to be providing direct care for clients who are known to be coughing, or who might be vomiting (to prevent droplets or secretions from the client reaching your eye).

What PPE should be worn by live-in care workers?

If you are living with your client on an ongoing basis, and this is your only client, then you are considered as part of the same household.

You should follow government guidance (e.g. on household isolation in the event that any person in the household develops symptoms of COVID-19) and use PPE as per standard infection and prevention control guidance.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance would be relevant if you are a care worker living in the household of your only client, but you also visit other clients as well for domiciliary care.

General coronavirus hygiene principles

The general hygiene principles everyone should be following include:

  • Washing your hands often – with soap and water (or using alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if hand-washing facilities are not available) – this is particularly important after taking public transport

  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin

  • Employees washing their hands:

    • before leaving home

    • on arrival at work

    • after using the toilet

    • after breaks and sporting activities

    • before food preparation

    • before eating any food, including snacks

    • before leaving work

    • on arrival at home

    • before and after any care activity with clients (care staff)

  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces

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