Updated: Jun 19
25th May 2020
This is our third statement about how we are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Below is an update on what has happened and what we continue to do to protect our staff and the people that use our service.
We are pleased to say that we still have no-one within our service that has had any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and we would like to thank all our staff for their vigilance with infection control guidelines.
We also continue to follow the guidelines from the government regarding supporting adults in our sector. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-supporting-adults-with-learning-disabilities-and-autistic-adults
We have contacted families, many of whom who have kindly taken on the care and support of their loved ones to offer our support, before where possible returning them to their usual care package. Unfortunately, this strategy must be continued and those support sessions that are non-essential must remain on hold for now. If you are one of those family members and you need to discuss this further, please get in contact with us.
New this week is that the administration staff can return to the office for essential work. The office has been re-arranged and computers moved to ensure social distancing. The office does remain closed to all others for now.
Also new this month was the guidance that our support staff must wear masks regardless of any symptoms, where the 2-metre rule cannot be applied. Staff will be wearing masks most of the time in accordance with this guidance and have been allocated a daily number of masks. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-how-to-work-safely-in-domiciliary-care
Looking after our mental health and wellbeing
There has been a big focus this month on protecting our wellbeing and we have sent staff information on ways that we can help as well as other organisations and support groups that are out there. Staff now have access to the Care workforce app (launched by NHS under the new CARE brand) which has lots of help and support.
This is what we have done to the business structure to avoid contact, protect our most vulnerable and reduce the spread!
1. We have asked those with family and/or support networks to help.
2. We have stopped all non-essential support sessions.
3. Our management team are now working from home; however they can come to the office for essential work on a rota basis:
a. We have reopened our office to administration work only that cannot be done at home and have a rota to ensure staff are not all in at the same time. We have a strict wipe down of high touch surfaces when leaving at our office.
4. We have reduced the staff traffic in each home to reduce the risk and nominated a key worker to manage the team.
5. We now have a regular order of essential PPE, after reviewing our suppliers.
All staff are wearing masks regardless of symptoms for jobs where adhering to the 2-metre rule is not possible. Staff are also wearing masks for medication and meal preparation.
6. Management team are carrying out delivery or medication and shopping where needed.
7. Management are staying in touch with people that use our service either currently or if they are at home with loved ones.
8. All people that use our service have been sent out an easy-read guide to understanding coronavirus.
Infection control for immediate implementation
These all remain in place:
1. No hand shaking.
2. Replace all tea towels and hand towels daily.
3. Staff must wash hands on arrival to shift and when they leave.
4. Hand washing reminder to staff regularly washing hand for at least 20 secs.
5. Daily surface cleaning rotas in place.
6. All homes given extra antibacterial spray, hand soap and air purifier.
7. All homes given poster information for service users and staff on hand hygiene.
8. All must keep 2 metres from each other.
9. PPE to be used during personal care, preparing food, handling medication and where the 2-metre rule is impossible to maintain.
Hand hygiene routine
1. All staff asked to carry hand sanitiser and it must contain alcohol.
2. Sanitise hands after every interaction between service users and activities.
3. Email and messages reminding the importance of hand hygiene.
Staff training and supervision
1. Staff are receiving their supervisions via the phone or Zoom.
2. All staff training is being sourced and completed online.
3. We are looking into purchasing a COVID-19 specific training course.
If a service user becomes unwell
They will be asked to:
1. Keep 2 meters away from other people.
2. Stay in room to self-isolate.
3. Avoid touching anything.
4. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in the bin, or cough in the crook of their elbow if they do not have a tissue to hand.
5. Will have a separate bathroom where possible.
6. They will be asked to call (or we will call) 111 for NHS advice or 999 if they become seriously ill.
7. We will monitor and record their health daily on Nourish though a daily observations chart.
8. We will consider whether there are tasks that we have usually done hands-on with a person, where prompting or alternative arrangements may now be possible instead
If a staff member becomes unwell
They will be asked:
1. To report their symptoms immediately and not to come to work.
2. To self-isolate for 14 days.
3. We can now access COVID-19 test from the local test centre.
Staff are being kept updated via email and WhatsApp.
Please contact us if you need any more information.
We hope this email finds you all well.
Claire Selby and Debbie Gaskin