In these unusual times I wanted to let you know details of Public Health England’s published guidance on Home Care Provision, advice for our Carers and Cared For.
But before I do. If you or a loved one have a carer who is self employed or are directly employing a carer in my opinion this advice should also apply. There are clearly difficulties when the paid carer is showing or masking symptoms and are self employed or are on zero contracts. Do as far as is possible seek to ensure their pay is secured or they may feel obliged to work with symptoms present, putting our most vulnerable at risk. Carers may be in short supply. Agencies may be pooling resources and new recruits are in urgent need, with the most skilled carers being focussed on the most vulnerable. Also, personal protective equipment is not yet available to all carers for those cared for who are showing symptoms although Matt Hancock, Secretary for Health and Social Care, said that it would be made available before the end of next week. Hospital provision has been the priority. My advice would be to improvise, in the meantime, following personal protective equipment and personal waste and laundry advice as below.
I hope this advice has been passed to you but just in case.
Public Health England’s Advice
If a member of staff is concerned they have COVID-19 they should follow NHS advice.
If they are advised to self-isolate at home they should follow the stay at home guidance.
If advised to self-isolate at home, they should not visit and care for individuals until safe to do so.
If the individual receiving care and support has symptoms of COVID-19, then the risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures.
Personal protective equipment
Care workers should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.
Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.
If care workers undertake cleaning duties, then they should use usual household products, such as detergents and bleach as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly.
Personal waste (for example, used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin for disposal as normal.
If care workers support the individual with laundry, then they should not shake dirty laundry before washing. This minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
Wash items as appropriate, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. If the individual does not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after the 7-day isolation period has ended; the laundry can then be taken to a public laundromat.
Items heavily soiled with body fluids, for example, vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washed, should be disposed of, with the owner’s consent.
Individual being cared for does not have symptoms but is part of a household that is isolating
If the individual being cared for and their worker can remain at a safe protected distance from the symptomatic member of the household, then care can be provided without additional precaution. This would apply, for example, where the symptomatic family member can remain in their own room, is using separate bathroom facilities and is observing robust isolation procedures, staying 2 metres away from other family members.
Where this is not possible – and this will vary on a case-by-case basis – the same procedures should be adopted as if the person being cared for did have symptoms of COVID-19 (see above). Care should continue to be taken to limit contact with any household member that has symptoms.
If neither the individual nor the care worker have symptoms of COVID-19
If neither the care worker nor the individual receiving care and support is symptomatic, then no personal protective equipment is required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices.
General interventions may include increased cleaning activity and keeping property properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate.
Care workers should follow advice on hand hygiene.
I hope this helps. If you have concerns or need individual advice please contact me.
0790 601 8238