Social Care Workers PPE

How Prepared are you for Covid

A few our client’s staff have contacted us very worried that they do not have the same levels of PPE as hospital staff. There are also lots of discussions on social media and we do not want to add to the confusion. The guidance appears to change regularly as everyone understands more about the Covid-19 virus. Therefore, the information we are giving is correct as of 5th April 2020. We have done the research, so you do not have to!

The advice currently available states that Covid-19 is an infection passed by droplets expelled from an infected persons body by coughing or sneezing it may also be passed by aerosol actions during specific medical procedures, such as placing a tube into a persons windpipe to place them onto a ventilator or during the removal of the same tube. Therefore, some hospital staff are seen wearing more complex PPE that care home staff are being provided with.

The advice from the government on the wearing of PPE for staff who are caring for residents with no signs of the disease are as follows:

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 to reduce risk of retention of virus on hard surfaces, and keeping property properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate. [1]

Many staff have been concerned about not being issued with full protective PPE as shown in the picture below.

This level of PPE is NOT required in a care home setting to keep care workers safe.

The government has issued guidance for care home staff who are caring for people diagnosed with Covid-19 and this guidance clearly states:

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. [2]

It is understandable why care workers are worried as I have not been able to source a picture with the correct level of PPE despite an extensive search. The picture to the left shows someone wearing scrubs and PPE.  Scrubs are not required, a normal clean uniform is adequate.




Diversity in Care things to consider

During this period of extreme pressure within Health and Social Care, there is so much being talked about in terms of care and dealing with the immediate problem of Covid-19 and quite rightly so. However, are we considering the needs of everyone we care for as isolation, sickness and care of bereaved relatives are real challenges as social isolation and travel restrictions change regularly.

For a long time now, we have been discussing caring for clients and looking at Diversity, this is certainly something that CQC have been looking at over recent months. It has become apparent to the team at Swift Management that many care home operators and managers do not really understand the true meaning of diversity. When we visit homes and speak to staff about diversity they usual talk about the racial mix of both staff and residents, they talk about the different religions represented by residents in the home and who the various clergy might visit on a frequent or infrequent basis.

What people seem to sidestep are those residents from the LGBTQ community and when you ask, they simply say, we don’t have any LGBTQ residents in the home. As a team we have looked back over our years in social care and between us all, we can only count less than 10 residents who were openly LGBTQ. Given between the team we have over 100 years’ experience in health and social care, the numbers of LGBTQ residents must be higher.

To understand the reluctance of our older population to open up about their sexuality it is useful to understand the background in which they grew up. The UK was not the open and accepting place it is today. Homosexual was illegal until 1967; up until that point being “Gay” carried a prison sentence. Police would raid houses early in the morning to catch people sleeping together, often encouraged by local communities making complaints about their neighbours. Courts would in some cases issue prison sentences or offer an alternative of “Voluntary” Electric Shock Therapy to assist in changing their sexuality. This Treatment was only stopped in the late 1970’s when Homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness. In less than 55 years the changes in society for the LGBTQ community has vastly changed. Therefore, for those who grow up prior to 1967 many will bear the scars of the society they grew up with.

You may argue that many groups in society over the years have suffered at the hands of others, whether that be due to race or religion etc. But this persecution in the UK was never legalised persecution in the same was as it was for the LGBTQ community. Many residents particularly those living with dementia will not be able to understand they have a right to be open. We as social care providers have a duty to encourage openness in both our staff and our residents, to ensure our LGBTQ residents can live their lives as they wish and without fear. This is particularly important when people are nearing the end of their lives, wanting to prepare it is just as important for the partners who are also in the same position and need to be able to grieve.

Be amongst the first care homes to truly recognise diversity. To find out more about being a truly diverse care home operator why not contact us: we are able to assist with your diversity plan and involve others in training and educating your staff about this very important aspect of so many people’s lives.