COVID-19 – Home Care & Live-in Care
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Home Care and Live-in care providers have been working tirelessly to ensure the safety of both their staff and clients. Many have introduced new protocols and procedures in line with Government guidance.
We understand that it can be difficult keeping track of all that’s going on at the moment, particularly when guidance around COVID-19 is changing day-by-day. As a result, we have put together 6 frequently asked questions and answers surrounding Home care & Live-in care at this present time.
1. What measures are Home Care providers putting in place to minimise the risk of care staff bringing COVID-19 into their clients’ houses?
Carers are tested weekly and in the result of a positive test they must cease care calls and self-isolate for 10days. If staff develop symptoms of COVID-19, they have been trained to immediately notify the office, isolate, and do a test. Staff have also been trained to be able to identify if a client is showing symptoms of Covid-19. In this case, we will immediately request a test for the client and notify relatives to not visit until we have the results.
If a Carer does not have symptoms of COVID-19, but someone in their household does, the Carer will be required to self-isolate at their home for 14 days. They will be required to do a Covid test and test negative before they can return to work. However, if they do develop symptoms during the 14 days of self-isolating, they must do a test and if they test positive, they continue to self-isolate for 10 days from the day they got the test.
At Angel Care, our Care Team are provided with PPE including masks, shields, gloves and aprons. Furthermore, we supply antibacterial hand gel to carers for use when handwashing facilities are not available. The management teams are monitoring staff regularly, providing regular updates on government guidance. An online training module has been created for staff to undertake to ensure that they understand the precautions that need to be taken during the pandemic.
2. Are Carers and clients being tested for COVID-19?
The Government has advised that everyone who is over the age of 5 and is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms can be tested including those who are receiving domiciliary care. Tests can be requested via the digital portal on the NHS website or through the NHS 111 service to book testing or by calling 119.
Angel Care are arranging home testing for clients who present symptoms of COVID-19.
3. Are hospital patients tested for COVID-19 before being discharged?
According to Government guidelines, “Everyone who is admitted to hospital to receive care will be tested for Covid-19, and hospitals should share care needs and Covid-19 status with the relevant community partners who are planning the subsequent community care.”
Individuals who do not have urgent needs and do not meet the criteria to reside in the hospital will be discharged to spend their recovery period at their home. Rest assured, providing the correct PPE guidance is adhered to, anyone can be safely cared for in their home by a home care/live-in care provider whether they test positive or negative for Covid-19. Testing will not hold up a timely discharge.
Any individual who is starting care with a home/live-in care provider must be cared for as possibly having the virus until a 14-day period has passed within their home which means full PPE will be worn. Due to the nature of home care/live-in care, the way a person is cared for will not change much after the 14 days. Carers are required to wear gloves & a mask to be within 2 metres of a client in their own home, when conducting personal care, they are also required to wear an apron.
4. Will a care company still provide home care if a client is self-isolating or develops COVID-19 symptoms?
Home care/live-in care providers will continue to provide care for clients even if they have Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive for the virus. We are supplying full PPE to manage any client who presents with symptoms or who is shielding/self-isolating. There is a protocol that any Carers that come into contact with a person matching this criterion must follow including:
- Wearing the appropriate PPE (disposable gloves & apron, mouth mask, face shield and Gown)
- Disregarding all PPE once the visit is over
- Requesting that the client wears a face mask
- Washing hands upon arrival at the clients’ house for at least 20 seconds
- Washing hand immediately before leaving the clients house for at least 20 seconds
- The line manager must be informed of the client’s condition so that they can be monitored
5. What happens if my Carer develops symptoms of COVID-19?
If your Carer show symptoms of Covid-19, they are obligated to report to their line manager, isolate and test. If their test result returns a Covid negative result they can return to work, but if their test return a Covid Positive result they will be required to do the following:
- Isolate for 10days from their test date
- Keep their line manager updated on their health
- Can return to work after they have isolated for 10days and they do not have a fever
At Angel Care any service user who has had contact with a carer who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be notified and be advised to get a test done. All carers who have worked with the carer who has tested positive will be advised to immediately do a test.
The care provider will make arrangements for your visits to be covered by an alternative Carer until your usual Carer is fit to come back to work (must have spent a minimum of 10 days in isolation).
6. Does the care company or the clients’ family supply the PPE for care visits? If it is the care company, is it reused between clients?
Angel Care will provide all PPE needed for care staff. The PPE is all single-use except for masks which can be used throughout the day. The masks are only used for up to 5 hours at any one time and are then disposed of correctly.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Carers are required to wear PPE consisting of:
- Disposable apron & gloves
- Mouth mask
- Face shield (Visor) / Goggles (eye protection)
After they have completed their tasks during a visit, Carers must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds immediately before leaving. Any PPE used by the Carer, excluding their mask and visor, will be disposed of immediately.
What to do with waste including PPE
Waste should be placed in a refuse bag and can be disposed of as normal domestic waste unless the client has symptoms of COVID-19, that is, a new continuous cough, a high temperature, a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.
Waste from people with symptoms of COVID-19, waste from cleaning of areas where they have been (including disposable cloths and used tissues) and PPE waste from their care:
- Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.
- The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied.
- It should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage for 72 hours.
Waste should be stored safely and securely kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.
Storing for 72 hours saves unnecessary waste movements and minimises the risk to waste operatives. This waste does not require a dedicated clinical waste collection in the above circumstances.
Do not put any items of PPE (or face coverings of any kind) in the recycling bin.
All other waste should be treated as per normal practice.
If you have any other questions surrounding home care & live-in care in the current climate, please do get in touch with us. We will try our very best to answer all of your queries.