You can take a number of measures to help prevent and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 on shifts.
If your nursing or carer work leads you to move between different care environments regularly, follow our advice below to protect yourself and residents.
10 steps to prevent infection on shift
1. Know before you go
Care homes on Florence are asked every 24 hours if they have a resident with symptoms. If they say ‘yes’, a notification will appear on the care home’s Florence page, and also on reminders you receive if you’re already booked for a shift.
This will help you know the conditions at the home before you go, so you can make an informed choice as to whether you can work the shift.
2. Only wear your uniform at work
Do not travel to and from work in your uniform. Wear different clothes for travel, change at work and bag your uniform at the end of each shift.
Wash uniforms at above 60 degrees, and always take a fresh set in to work.
3. Get a handover
Ensure you arrive at the care home in time to have a comprehensive clinical handover at the start of your shift. This should also include an induction to the environment if you are new to the home.
4. Share care responsibilities for symptomatic patients
You should avoid being assigned to work as a 1:1 care provider for any residents who are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms - this will reduce the risk of transmission to you or other care providers.
You can continue to give short episodes of care and medication administration where required to residents with symptoms.
5. Wear PPE
You should always have access to the most appropriate PPE. PPE, including masks, should be available and put on outside the resident's room to reduce the risk of transmission. PPE should be removed inside the resident's room.
6. Isolate symptomatic patients
Residents who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should be isolated in their rooms (ideally a single room with bathroom facilities) 111 should be contacted for advice if their symptoms worsen.
7. Dispose of PPE after one use
Used PPE should be removed inside the residents room and disposed of in the clinical waste facility. Hand hygiene must always be performed after PPE has been removed. PPE must be changed after each care episode and between residents.
8. Keep rested and hydrated
It is essential that you and your team take regular breaks and remain rested and well-hydrated. Breaks are not a luxury but an important part of preventing fatigue-related incidents.
Dehydration causes a reduction in your brain’s processing power, which may stop you being able to make critical decisions. Keep residents safe by looking after yourself and your team!
9. Document residents’ conditions
Documentation is essential when caring for all residents, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Careful monitoring of vital signs will ensure prompt additional care can be sought if their condition deteriorates.
10. Manage visitors
Many care homes are restricting visitors in order to prevent the spread of infection. Ensure those visiting the home for essential reasons (such as a clinical deterioration of a resident) apply appropriate PPE and observe good hand hygiene techniques.
Further help for nurses and carers
We appreciate the hard work nurses and carers are doing every day on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.
The steps above are a summarised version of information found in Florence’s new COVID-19 course. For further learning, take the free course now on Florence Academy. We hope it's useful to your practice.
For your daily work, please see our guidelines on what we are doing to help all Florence users, as well as see our policy for nurses and carers to follow during this time. If you discover a case of COVID-19 while on shift, please see the advice here.