Coronavirus COVID-19 update

These are strange times and everybody is being asked to pull together to protect the NHS and to protect the lives of others. As the situation with COVID-19 escalates beyond the levels seen earlier in 2020, we have reviewed our working practices in line with revised government guidance. We are asking everyone to be extra vigilant and considerate of social distancing and the wearing of PPE.

Never has the ability to protect the lives of others been so important, by following the government guidance we can all play our part.

 

My role and that of my team is to work together to solve the following 3 challenges:

  • Protect you as an individual

  • Protect all clients

  • Protect the care team

We ask that you follow the government guidance on National Lockdown and Self Isolation and if you are not our client but live with them this applies to everyone in the household. Failing to follow government guidance puts you (or the client you live with) at risk, as well as our other clients, the care team and their families.

Please value the care team, the work they do and respect that they continue to provide a service despite their fears and worries.

Changes you may see:

  • Visit times may need to vary from your preferred times, depending on the team on shift. Whilst we endeavour to notify you of any visit changes of more than 30 mins, we are anticipating that the challenges we face may not allow for that to happen. Please use the Family App to check visit times and allocated carers.

  • Carers may change and you may see new carers.

Why these changes might happen:

  • A combination of factors outside of our control may impact on services over the next few months.

  • Our weekly testing kits have arrived so this may result in asymptomatic carers getting a positive result. The test result message could come mid shift and at that point the carer will be replaced so they can comply with government guidance and isolate.

  • You may see more new Care Practitioners than you expect as we have over recruited to the care team in order to keep continuity of service in the case of carers isolating or should we need to provide additional services in support of the NHS.

  • We are attempting to split our care team in to 2 distinct geographic areas in order to reduce the number of carers going in to clients homes, this may mean that you do not have the usual carers. Please bear with us, as soon as we feel it is safe to do so we will return to normal work practice.

  • We may have clients who are COVID-19 positive and require more time and changes to working practice.

  • We believe that if there has not been any breach in the wearing of PPE and following of hand washing guidance all clients and care team should be safe from transmission.

Action plan:

  • From January 2021 all carers will be tested weekly for COVID-19 (they are not required to isolate whilst waiting for the test results).

  • Should a Domiciliary Carer receive a positive test result, out of courtesy we will notify all clients the carer has been in contact with up to 2 days prior to taking the test. There is no requirement for a client to isolate as a result of being in contact with the carer as long as the carer was wearing full PPE for the duration of the visit.

  • Should a Live-in Carer receive a positive test result whilst on placement with a client, they will be required to isolate with the client at the clients home.

  • We are taking our clients temperatures at every visit, whilst this is not a definitive diagnostic tool it will give us a benchmark to report against.

  • We will ask clients and those who live with them to follow the government shielding guidelines where ever possible.

  • Where families are choosing to not follow government shielding/isolation rules we will be restricting the care we provide to essential activities only (i.e. personal care) in order to protect the care team and the other clients they visit. We will assume that the family members are able and willing to provide additional support to their family member under these circumstances. We urge family members to ask themselves if they really need to be going out to work at this present time, even if they stop for the next few weeks it would make a big difference.

  • The care team will wear face masks, aprons and gloves when working with all clients.

  • The care team to reduce non essential activities with all clients in order to maintain social distancing as far as is reasonably practicable to do so.

  • If a Care Practitioner has reason to believe a client has COVID-19 symptoms, they must leave the room and phone the office for further guidance (or 999 if client has breathing difficulties).

  • The care team will wear face masks, eye protection, aprons and gloves when working with clients

  • If any member of the care team has any COVID-19 symptoms they will self isolate for 10 days.

  • We will ask all of the care and office team to maintain social distancing rules inside and outside of work times.

  • We will ask all of the care team to avoid travelling abroad wherever possible to reduce the risk of staff shortages due to UK quarantine rules.

  • We will ask all Live-in Carers travelling from abroad to arrive in the UK at least 14 days before the start of a placement. Where possible we will also ask them to get a COVID test prior to starting the placement.

  • We will prioritise client visits in line with our emergency response planning.

Should any of our care team be off work due to Coronavirus we will notify our clients and follow contact tracing guidance. These actions will be reviewed as we learn more about the spread of this virus.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

The care team will wear the following PPE for all client visits:

  • Gloves

  • Apron

  • Face mask

  • Eye protection

 

All of the care team have been issued gloves, aprons, paper hand towels, face masks and eye protection.

Our emergency coding:

Coronavirus COVID-19 is a huge threat to the care sector with experts predicting that 20% of the care workforce could be off work at any one time due to self isolation, quarantine or suffering from the illness. Should we have a staffing problem then we will prioritise our clients according to their level of need and whether they live alone.

This will mean that visits may need to be moved to a later time of the day, the visit duration shortened or the visit cancelled. We prioritise our clients based on the following criteria:

High priority

Clients who live alone and have complex care needs (assistance with medication, meals, repositioning or continence care).

Medium priority

Clients who require assistance with medication, meals, repositioning or continence care but live with a relative, have a Live-in Carer or have family nearby who can step in in an emergency.

Low priority

Clients who require assistance with a shower, bath or domestic support.

Clients who we only provide respite visits for.

Should we be faced with a shortage of staff our High level clients will be prioritised, Medium and Low level clients may have their visit moved to late morning or afternoon or in worst case scenario the visit will be cancelled. Our office and care team will be working under a great amount of pressure to try and ensure that all of our client needs are being met. Care visits are already in high demand and this demand will be increased hugely in the weeks to come.

General coronavirus hygiene principles (advice given to care team)

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The best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person. Our care team always maintain high standards of hygiene and follow robust infection control guidelines, however as we care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, during this outbreak we expect you to be extra vigilant about handwashing, coughs and sneezes, and keeping clients’ homes clean.

The wellbeing of our colleagues and clients is our highest priority. 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 handwashing facilities are not available)

  • 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

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

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces

  • Wear gloves and aprons to prepare food

  • Wear gloves, aprons, face mask and eye protection whilst giving personal care

  • Use paper towels to dry hands when in clients homes

We take our caring responsibilities extremely seriously and we are keeping fully up-to-date with official advice.

If you have any questions about this information please do not hesitate to contact us on 01235 606 200 or email support@lacare.co.uk

 

Many thanks,

Leah Atherton

Director | Registered Manager