With the growing impact of COVID-19, we understand that care homes across the nation will be facing new pressures and strains. That’s why we’re here to help.
Below you will find four steps you can take (or may have already taken) to ensure the smooth operation of your home in the coming months. They’ll also help us to keep Florence nurses and carers fit and available to fill your vacancies.
Increase your safety measures.
Have the relevant personal protective equipment available for all staff at all times.
This may include disposable gloves, masks and aprons.
You can read more about the latest update on acquiring PPE as advised by the Care Provider Alliance here.
Emphasise good hygiene for all visitors of the home.
This starts with good hand hygiene, i.e. asking visitors to wash their hands upon arrival with soap and water following the 20 second rule.
You can distribute posters throughout the building to help with this message.
Ensure hand sanitiser stations are also placed in key areas, e.g. reception and doorways.
Nurses and carers should be encouraged to change into and out of their uniform when they arrive and leave.
This will help to limit the spread of the virus via clothing.
Review your visiting policy.
Limit visiting hours where possible and actively discourage anyone from visiting who is unwell or evidencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Communicate regularly with all staff.
If a member of staff is concerned they have symptoms, they should follow the NHS guidance to self-isolate immediately, which can be found here.
They should not visit the home until it is safe to do so, so remain in regular contact with them.
If you are using essential agency staff, ensure you advise the agency of any symptoms or new cases of COVID-19 within the home.
Agencies can then support you in raising awareness and keeping the shift covered.
Ensure all staff have regular access to rest and meal breaks.
Food, rest and hydration are essential to good health, so this will help maintain the wellbeing of your workforce.
If you are struggling to fill your shifts, or require some extra assistance to support your residents, you can sign up to the National Care Force, Florence’s not-for-profit organisational response to COVID-19.
This free platform will match you with caregivers and vetted volunteers in your area, to help free up your frontline staff for clinical duties.
Take extra precaution with residents.
If a resident evidences symptoms of COVID-19, you should follow the national guidance of isolation precautions.
The resident's bedroom can be used for this purpose (ideally single bedroom with en-suite facilities).
All staff should use the required Personal Protective Equipment (as mentioned above).
This includes when interacting with residents who have symptoms, or for activities that require close contact; washing, bathing and personal hygiene.
New PPE must be used each time you have a new interaction with any resident.
Used PPE should be securely disposed of in rubbish bags.
Public Health England have published detailed advice on this.
Increased cleaning of all areas is recommended, including regularly wiping down surfaces with anti-microbial wipes and sprays.
Safe ventilation of the home is essential, e.g. opening windows for fresh air where possible.
And finally, remain positive.
Keep up the spirits of both your staff and residents by incorporating fun but safe daily activities.
This could be a games afternoon, or movie nights (always complying with the two metres apart rule!)
Be mindful of your conversations around residents.
Be informative but reassure them that this time will pass.
Communicate with your visitors to encourage them to be responsible around residents.
Visitation is important for the wellbeing of your residents, so be sure that the processes you put in place are both safe and effective.
You can encourage the use of technology to help residents stay in touch with their loved ones, i.e. assisting with video calls.
Here at Florence we understand how busy this period will be, but we’re always available to assist and support you through any challenges. Together, we can continue to provide the best care possible.