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.

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