Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) amidst the Covid-19 outbreak has been a topic of controversy.
Reports of a lack of PPE in care homes brings great concern to those with elderly or disabled relatives.
People want to feel secure that loved ones residing in care are safe, and rightly so.
If you’re looking for a summary of how PPE should be used and how safe care homes are at the moment, read our guide below.
How PPE in Care Homes Should Be Used
- The Correct Order to Put on PPE in Care Homes
As shown above, the advice for care home staff to prepare is to make sure that they:
- Drink fluids before putting on PPE
- Tie back their hair
- Remove any jewellery
- Check that the PPE is the correct size
Following this, staff members should do the following:
- Clean and disinfect their hands with either alcohol rub/gel, or soap and water.
- Put on an apron and tie this at their waist.
- Put on a facemask, with the upper straps positioned on the crown of the head and the lower straps at the nape of the neck.
After the first three steps, staff can then:
- Use both hands to mould the metal strap over the bridge of the nose.
- If required, put on their eye protection to reduce the risk of splashing.
- Put on a pair of gloves.
- The Correct Order to Remove PPE in Care Homes
Images from the bulletin are included below.
Guidelines for the removal of gloves:
- Use one hand to grasp the glove on the other hand and peel off.
- Slide fingers of the ungloved hand under the remaining glove at the wrist. Peel off.
- Discard the gloves and clean their hands.
To take off aprons:
- Break the apron strap at the neck and allow the apron to fold down on itself.
- Break the waist straps at the back and fold the apron in on itself.
- Fold or roll the apron into a bundle, without touching the outside surface.
- Discard the apron and clean their hands.
When removing eye protection:
- Only handle eye protection by the headband or sides.
- Discard eye protection. Reusable eye protection must be decontaminated.
- Clean hands.
And finally, for taking off the two types of mask (elasticated and tied):
- Elasticated masks: Pull loops over ears. Discard and clean hands.
- Tied masks: Untie or break the bottom straps followed by the top straps. Discard and clean hands.
The NHS bulletin goes on to note that PPE should be removed and disposed of in the above sequence. This is to reduce the risks of cross/self-contamination.
How Safe Are Care Homes in the UK at The Moment?
Infection control was a big enough topic already. Since the outbreak of coronavirus in March 2020, this has become an even more important factor for families choosing a care home in the UK.
The government announced a £600 million “Infection Control Fund” in mid-May 2020.
The idea behind this fund is to control the spread of Covid-19 infection in residential and nursing home settings.
Research from the University of East Anglia found that the UK’s shortage of PPE during the pandemic’s rise and peak hit care home staff the hardest.
The study looked at staffing levels and PPE availability in 248 Norfolk care homes in April and early May 2020.
PPE that was tracked included masks, gloves, aprons, and hand sanitiser.
“About 40% of all Covid-19 deaths in the UK in early May 2020 were among care home residents,” said study author Professor Paul Hunter.
“It’s well known that here in the UK, care home workers were not supplied with sufficient PPE such as masks, gloves and protective gowns early in the Covid-19 outbreak,’’ Professor Hunter went on to state.
But how safe are care homes in the UK now?
This is the question that many people are looking for answers to.
On the back of the concerning news above, our team at Autumna has formed S.A.F.E. (Symptom Assessment for Everyone) to make finding care homes easier for the public.
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Autumna’s mission is to help families understand the best later-life care options.
In line with this, we believe that for public confidence in the residential senior care sector to be restored, care homes in the UK will need to prove they’re doing all they can to control virus outbreaks going forward.
S.A.F.E uses third-party, validated data to identify care homes that are managing and getting things right during the pandemic.
As a result, you will be able to see which homes provide a safe environment to live in. This includes the care homes’ PPE access, staffing, and medicine management.
Transparency helps the public make informed decisions about how safe care homes are.
Furthermore, it ensures that homes remain accountable.
By introducing S.A.F.E., care homes in the UK can now publish details about how they control infections and plan to respond to any outbreaks.
These details are available on the Autumna website.
Conveniently, you can customise a search for care homes using the Infection Control filter.
The filter shows you which care homes have submitted their S.A.F.E report to us.
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As a family member or friend or someone in care, we know you’ll want clarity on care home safety at the moment.
If you would like to search for care homes near you that are S.A.F.E. registered, click this link to go to the Autumna website.
You can use the search bar to filter for S.A.F.E. homes that have published their infection control practices.
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For support on how to use the search bar or any other queries, feel free to call our friendly team on 01892 335 330.
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