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How can care providers reduce the spread of Covid-19?

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It's too early to be optimistic that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is behind us, so it’s important to continue to do all we can to maintain the highest levels of hygiene - both in front line services and personally - to protect ourselves and service users from infection and to reduce the likelihood of a dreaded second wave.

The UK Government has issued comprehensive guidance on best practise for care providers, detailing the necessary steps that staff should take to reduce the risk of infection.

It’s natural to feel anxious about the current situation and what lies ahead. Which is why it’s so important to stay well-informed; so you can protect your own health, that of your care workers, and the health and welfare of your residents, in every way possible.

Like any other cold or flu virus, Covid-19 is spread primarily when people cough and sneeze. The virus travels in the saliva of infected people, and can be transmitted by breathing it in. Similarly, the germs can land on surfaces - like tables, chairs, hand-rails etc., which are then touched by other people who spread it further. For this reason, it’s difficult to control the spread, which is why personal and professional hygiene are so important.

What should you do?

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (or if that’s not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser):

By doing this, you’ll help avoid cross-contamination between residents.

In addition, it’s essential that any staff member who experiences Covid-19 symptoms, or who suspects that they might have contracted the virus self-isolates for 7 days.

Similarly, if you believe a resident may have contracted Covid-19, they should isolate in their room - and staff should be particularly mindful of hygiene precautions when providing them with care - in order to prevent spreading the disease to other residents. You should refer to the government guidance on the Admission and Care of Residents during the current pandemic.

As a matter of course and wherever possible, staff should be using appropriate PPE and respecting social distancing guidelines. All staff should be aware of government guidance on how to work safely in care homes during this period.

In addition to these precautions, care providers must ensure that:

These tips have been produced to stand alongside government and NHS guidance, however they should in no way be taken as a substitute for official advice. As our understanding of the current pandemic evolves, guidance on dealing with the situation is changing regularly, so it’s essential that care providers regularly update and verify their knowledge and practise to reflect this.

For detailed guidance on how to manage Covid-19, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the government’s Adult Social Care Action Plan. The Care Quality Commission has also produced comprehensive guidance for providers on how to manage services during the pandemic.

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