The UK’s increasing Covid-19 infection rate alerts us that a second wave may be beginning.

It’s important to make sure your care home is prepared - here are six key points to consider while making sure your home is as ready as it can be.

1. Stock PPE

If the first wave has taught us anything, it’s that homes and care settings need to make sure there is an adequate supply of PPE available to all staff.

Face masks must be worn in care homes at all times, whether there are suspected cases of coronavirus or not. Now is a good time to monitor and report on usage levels and stock accordingly.

It may be worth using a PPE burn rate tool such as this, to calculate stocks required in general and if a second second wave were to occur.

The recommended PPE in care settings includes:

You can view the most recent guidance issued by the NHS and Public Health England around the use of PPE and accessing supplies here.

2. Cleaning and hygiene

It’s more important than ever to keep on top of cleaning and hygiene, to prevent the spread of infection in your care setting. Now’s the time for  staff, residents and visitors to refresh their memories on hand hygiene and PPE practices.

Staff should be regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment, washing and sanitising hands frequently and disposing of PPE in the correct way after use. More advice on cleaning and hygiene best practice can be found here.

3. Forecast staffing

Recruitment and staffing was one of the main concerns during the first wave of the pandemic. With the use of agency staff being discouraged, it may be time to look into alternative safe options.

With Florence, you can secure your agency nurses and carers by exclusive contract and block-booking, to limit the amount of people entering your facility. More on this to follow…

4. Block book agency staff

While complying with the effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Florence Exclusive allows homes to book quality nurses and carers for longer contracts. This means a single care-giver can work with you for an extended period, rather than several different temporary staff members. During this time, the nurse or carer will contractually agree not to work with any other providers.

As with all Florence staff, nurses and carers booked through Florence Exclusive will be required to take a regular Covid-19 test, with dated results available for care homes to view on staff profiles.

5. Testing

With the NHS and care homes to be prioritised in the new Covid-19 testing plans, homes need to ensure regular testing is being carried out. It's extremely important to monitor test results and act accordingly should someone in the home, either staff or resident have a positive test result.

Here at Florence, nurses and carers must answer Covid-19 screening questions daily, in order to access the platform. On logging in, staff must answer “yes” or “no” to whether they are showing coronavirus symptoms. If the answer is yes, their upcoming shifts are cancelled, and they are unable to use the system until they can report they are well again.

6. Focus on staff's mental health

The coronavirus outbreak has turned our daily lives upside down, and frontline nurses and carers are particularly likely to be affected by the tragedy first-hand. In fact, 72% of women working in health and social care report they've experienced a greater negative impact than usual on their mental wellbeing due to Covid-19.

It’s important during this time to regularly check in with staff on how they are feeling and offer them a safe space to discuss their worries or concerns. Find out more in our blog post on how your nurses and carers can look after their mental health.

Here to help

If you have any questions about how we’re helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus, please get in touch with your Florence account manager. You can reach us on [email protected], or by calling 020 3911 2555 - our dedicated team are ready to discuss any questions you have in detail.

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