Government Works To Protect Vulnerable People Receiving Social Care

Public Health England has released new guidance for those working in social care or providing social care in homes, in an aim to delay the spread of Covid-19.

Care providers in areas such as care homes, supported living as well as those providing care to those in their own homes have been given guidance to on what steps to take to maintain service and minimise the risk of transmission.

The elderly and those with underlying health conditions, are the most likely to develop serious complications if they contract the virus, therefore it is important that carers follow the advice.

To maintain service, care homes are to work together with local authorities to ‘establish plans for mutual aid, including sharing of the workforce’; these measures include reporting bed vacancies, using tools to transfer information securely and the use of virtual conferencing.

Local authorities will also be routinely providing personal protective equipment (PPE).

To minimise the risk of transmission providers have been asked to review their visitation policy and asking anyone showing any symptoms to delay visiting, for good hygiene and hand washing to be emphasised and contractors on site to kept to a minimum.

If a patient is showing symptoms of the virus they should be isolated to their own rooms and care staff will use protective equipment in an aim to reduce the risk of transmission. Other more practical steps are also being advised, such as double bagging PPE that has been used, regular hand washing, cleaning surfaces often and not shaking laundry.

The NHS will be working closely with care providers to enable carers to give the best care possible.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“I understand how worried people most in need of care will be about coronavirus, and how concerned families around the country will be for their loved ones. And I want everyone to know we are working around the clock to ensure we do everything possible to reduce the risk vulnerable and elderly people face.

“Public safety is my top priority and we are clear people in care should follow the same tried and tested protocols everyone else is following. These include good hand hygiene and self-isolating where necessary, allowing our fantastic care workforce to keep them well.

“We are working closely with partners from across the social care sector to ensure local authorities, care providers and our health and social workforce are prepared to take action to protect our most vulnerable.

“Local authorities will work with the NHS and care providers to bring together their pre-existing contingency preparations and make sure each decision is made with the best public health and clinical advice at its heart.”

Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said:

“We recognise that we are entering an incredibly challenging time for people living and working in care and we are working closely with industry experts to do everything we can to limit the impact that COVID-19 has on the most vulnerable.

“This guidance is an important part of that work. Its aim is to help the NHS, local government and care providers to work together to take the best steps to protect those most at risk.

“The social care workforce works tremendously hard to care for people of all ages with complex health needs. I am sincerely grateful for their commitment to the people they care for, now more than ever.

“As part of the government’s emergency legislation measures, Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one of sickness to support those affected by COVID-19. Those on zero-hour contracts will also receive Statutory Sick Pay or will be able to claim Universal Credit dependent on their circumstances.”

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