Care homes have come under a lot of pressure since the beginning of the covid epidemic. Their residents are elderly and infirm and have a much higher risk of contracting and dying of the illness. It is important that the virus is kept to a minimum, and hopefully not brought into care homes at all, but how realistic is this when they house the most vulnerable people in society? Here is a guide to how care homes can keep residents safe from covid.
Personal Protective Equipment
Care home staff should always wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves and the care home residents. Using a level 2 isolation gown with a mask and gloves will save lives. Staff should use disposable equipment and change it every time they deal with a different patient to avoid cross-contamination and keep everyone safe. Visitors to the care home should not be admitted to the building unless they are wearing the right equipment, whether they are tradespeople, family members, or staff.
It stands to reason that the cleaner an environment is, the less likely it is that viruses can spread in the area. There is a difference between keeping a care home clean in normal times and keeping it clean during a pandemic. More care and attention will need to be paid to wiping down surfaces and disinfecting areas and this will need to be carried out more regularly too. This may take the staff more time, but it is worth it to protect the residents.
Hand washing is one of the greatest defences we have against covid, and staff should wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time. Residents can also be encouraged to do this.
Hand sanitiser should be placed between each room in the care home and residents and staff should be encouraged to use this every time they go through a door unless they are wearing a clean pair of gloves. This will help to stop the virus from spreading.
Staff have to live their lives outside work but unfortunately, this could lead them to pick up covid without realising and bringing it into the care home. It is estimated that up to 60% of people have covid but do not display any symptoms. Of course, care home staff are usually fit and healthy while residents are infirm and elderly. This means that if residents catch covid they are more likely to be affected by it than staff. To combat this, staff should be tested for the virus regularly and not allowed to enter the care home unless they can prove that they have a clean bill of health.
Covid is an incredibly infectious virus, and nobody can be sure just how safe they are from it. However, these methods will help to keep care home residents safe from covid and will mean that they can live happier, healthier lives for longer.