Coronavirus policy update
In this post, we would like to highlight the updated actions we are taking to help protect our clients, our staff and our community. The information here is an overview of our COVID-19 policies; full details can be obtained upon request. While our actions are in accordance with government policy, we will continue to monitor the situation and make proactive decisions based on the latest thinking.
Our care team are utilising personal protective equipment (PPE) and we continue to monitor and educate them on its proper use and disposal. Our staff are required to follow the guidance on putting on and removing PPE – both of which should be done at least two metres away from a client.
It should be noted that the use of PPE is only effective when combined with frequent hand washing/sanitising as well as the avoidance of touching one’s eyes, mouth and face. Hand hygiene should be practiced before and after eating or drinking as well as before and after every episode of care. Additionally, uniforms and clothes worn to client visits should be washed immediately upon returning home and separately from other household linen.
All of our non live-in care team must now wear a mask when they are within two metres of a client and when in direct contact, they must wear a mask, apron, gloves and – where necessary – eye protection. For live-in carers, there is no routine requirement to wear a mask unless the client requests it or unless there is a specific risk of COVID-19. Only fluid repellent or standard surgical masks are acceptable; homemade or cloth masks should not be used for delivering health and care activities.
We are following government guidance on PPE preservation to ensure our PPE levels continue to be sufficient.
Limiting contact with others is still important and the best way to do this is to stay at home.
Those that are fit and healthy, however, are now allowed to meet with up to six people from different households provided a social distance of two metres is maintained and the gathering takes place outdoors. Private gardens should be accessed externally wherever possible. If access is through a house, touching surfaces and lingering should be avoided and any touch points should be cleaned. Additionally, if there is no other option but to use a toilet in someone else’s house, then surfaces should be wiped down afterwards. Plates, utensils, paddling pools or other garden equipment should not be shared.
Single adult support bubbles are now permitted and people in the bubble can be treated as members of their household. Everyone in a support bubble can spend time together inside each other’s homes – including overnight – without needing to stay two metres apart. A support bubble must only be formed, however, with one other household and they cannot be changed once formed.
Good hygiene practices should continue to be followed. This includes washing hands for at least 20 seconds once at home and using hand sanitiser when out. Also, when sneezing or coughing, a tissue should be used or the crook of your elbow if there is no tissue.
When people are away from home, a two metre distance must be maintained from those outside their household and a mask should be worn when in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. Crowds should be avoided, hands washed or sanitised often, and clothes washed regularly.
In addition to our infection control efforts, we continue to closely monitor testing protocols. Our staff have been reminded of the symptoms of COVID-19 which include a new continuous cough, a high temperature, and a loss of, or change in, one’s normal sense of smell. If they experience any signs of it, they must immediately report this to their manager, self-isolate and get a coronavirus test. If this test is negative, they will be allowed to return to work. If it is positive, they will need to self-isolate for at least seven days. Our managers are available to help answer any questions and to ensure our staff get back to work safely.
People should still avoid public transport wherever possible, though if they need to do so, a mask should be worn and a two metre distance between people should try to be maintained. Wearing a mask on public transport will be mandatory from 15 June.
Our arrangement with Brighton Bikes Scheme allows our employees to cycle for free around Brighton and Hove. Additionally, we are registered with the Cycle to Work scheme which means our staff can save money and spread the cost of buying a new bike.
Those returning from overseas destinations (except from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) will be required to provide journey and contact details using the government’s online form and will also need to self-isolate for 14 days.
We have also produced a new wellbeing policy which we’ve gone into more detail in this blog post.