Coronavirus Update

 

  1. Purpose

  • To ensure that the Company remains up to date and is able to respond in the event of a member of staff, Resident or contact, contracting the virus, Coronavirus, which results in the disease COVID-19 and the effects as this can often lead to Long COVID and other health
  • To support the Company in meeting the following Key Lines of Enquiry:

Key Question              Key Lines of Enquiry

 

SAFE

S2: How are risks to people assessed and their safety monitored and managed so they are supported to stay safe and their freedom is respected?
 

SAFE

S3: How does the service make sure that there are sufficient numbers of suitable staff to support people to stay safe and meet their needs?
 

SAFE

S5: How well are people protected by the prevention and control of infection?
WELL-LEDW5: How does the service work in partnership with other agencies?

 

  • To meet the legal requirements of the regulated activities that the Company is registered to provide:
  • Civil Contingencies Act 2004
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014
  • Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Registration and Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2015
  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)
  • Coronavirus Act 2020
  1. Scope

  • The following roles may be affected by this policy:
  • All staff
  • Senior Management
  • The following Residents may be affected by this policy:
  • Residents
  • Visitors
  • The following stakeholders may be affected by this policy:
  • Family
  • Commissioners
  • External health professionals
  • Local Authority
  • NHS
  1. Objectives

  • To ensure that safe, effective procedures are in place with staff and Residents having information in an accessible
  • As the spread of the virus is resulting in operational responses changing very frequently, the Company will ensure that it stays up to date with reliable sources of information and has the flexibility to respond when
  1. Policy

  • The Company recognises that the outbreak of coronavirus, SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS- CoV-2) which results in the disease COVID-19 and COVID-19 variants, is a fast-moving As care providers, ensuring robust infection control and business continuity plans form part of preparing the Company for any events that can cause disruption to the normal business.
  • The Company will ensure that staff are aware and understand the importance of pandemic preparedness and will carry out preparations to manage the impact of virus by following the checklist in the Company’s Pandemic Policy and Procedure. The Company understands that business continuity planning involves all aspects of the business, and to be effective, the Comapny must work with its partners, suppliers and commissioners to ensure that a safe and effective service can be
  • The Company understands that it has a responsibility for ensuring that staff follow good infection control and prevention techniques and that it supports Residents with this too. The Company will ensure that staff have access to reliable information to reduce anxiety and dispel any myths and inaccurate information that may cause worry or distress to staff, Residents or the wider
  1. Procedure

5.1 Pandemic Policy

The Company recognises that the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020. The Company will ensure that it reviews its Pandemic Policy and Procedure. It will review the Pandemic Planning Checklist to ensure that the business is prepared for any further waves of the pandemic, ensure that robust business continuity plans are in place and that any lessons learned from earlier in the year are reflected.

5.2 Reducing the Risk of Contracting or Spreading the Virus

The Company will ensure that staff, when not at work, follow the WHO and government guidance to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and the risk of spreading it. They must also support Residents to follow the government requirements and remind them that failure to follow this can result in a fine. Government guidance changes rapidly and the Company will ensure it keeps up to date with any changes.

5.3 Handwashing

Staff must wash their hands:

  • Before leaving home
  • On arrival at work
  • After using the toilet
  • Before putting on or removing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • After touching pets
  • After breaks and sporting activities
  • Before food preparation
  • After using public transport
  • Before eating any food, including snacks
  • Before leaving work
  • On arrival at home

5.4 Shielding At-Risk Groups

The Company needs to ensure that Residents and staff who are considered particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 have a risk assessment in place. The Company must ensure that the Public Health England ‘Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19′ is followed.

The Company will need to ensure that any additional guidance for vulnerable individuals is followed in line with national guidance.

5.5 Safe Staffing

The Company must use tools to report capacity for bed vacancies (Capacity Tracker) to support system resilience, where applicable, as outlined in the guidance COVID-19: guidance on residential care provision and How to Work Safely in Care Homes.

The Company must restrict, as far as possible, staff movement between the different premises, to reduce the risk of the virus transmission. This is in line with national guidance on Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings.

5.6 Actions if a Resident Meets the Criteria and Displays Symptoms

  • If a Resident complains of symptoms, the Company must ensure that staff understand the Ethical Framework for Adult Social Care Staff
  • The Resident must be isolated immediately. Staff must sensitively explain why they need to be moved and support with any anxiety and fears they may have
  • They must be isolated in a separate, single room with a separate bathroom, where possible
  • The Company must seek advice from its local Health Protection Team if it has a single possible case of COVID-19
  • If a further clinical assessment is advised, contact their GP
  • If symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after 10 days, contact their GP for further advice around escalation and to ensure that person-centred decision making is followed
  • For a medical emergency dial 999
  • Staff must immediately instigate full infection control measures to care for the Resident with symptoms, which will avoid the virus spreading to other Residents at the home and stop staff members becoming infected. The Company will follow its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Policy and Procedure and its Infection Control Policy and Procedure and current Public Health England guidance on PPE
  • Inform family members, where the Resident gives consent, so that they are kept informed. Where possible, support the Resident to notify their family
  • It is important that Residents are supported to remain in touch with their families while they are in isolation and the agreed way this will be achieved will be documented in the Care
  • Review and update the Care Plan and risk assessment
  • Ensure that any advance decisions are recorded and that the correct documentation is available
  • Where the Resident lacks capacity, continue to explain and ensure that the least restrictive options are taken to maintain their safety and the safety of everyone at the home. Where required, involve the Resident’s GP
  • Follow the Company’s COVID-19 Testing Policy and Procedure at the home and the Government’s advice on their website

5.7 Action if a Member of Staff Has Contact with Someone Who Has COVID-19 and Needs to Self- Isolate

Where staff are informed they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they are required to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines.

In some circumstances, staff may be allowed to come out of self-isolation to work, if there is a likelihood that the staff member’s absence could create a significant risk to the health and safety of Residents. In order for staff to be able to leave self-isolation for work purposes, they must be:

  • Fully vaccinated and it has been more than 14 days since their second dose
  • Have a negative PCR test before coming out of self-isolation
  • Undertake daily negative LFD antigen tests for a minimum of 7 days
  • Comply with all infection control and PPE precautions in place

A risk assessment must also be completed by the Company on an individual basis for each member of staff and must be authorised by the local Director of Infection Prevention and Control and/or the lead professional for health protection and/or Director of Public Health relevant the home.

If authorised to leave self-isolation to work, the member of staff must continue to self-isolate as a close contact when not at work. Full details of the guidance can be found here.

5.8 Supporting Hospital Discharge

The Registered Manager will follow the guidance Admission and Care of Residents in a Care Home During COVID-19, ensuring that communication channels remain open between the hospital and family and that the Resident is involved in all decisions and discussions.

5.9 Staff with Symptoms

If staff have a fever (37.8 degrees Celsius), a new/persistent cough, or a loss or change in their sense of smell or taste they must follow national guidance for social care staff and advice from Test and Trace teams.

You’ll usually need to self-isolate and follow guidance for social care staff if:

  • Someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • You’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Further advice on what staff need to do can be read here.

5.10 Isolation Notes Online

Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for the Company that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work. Isolation notes can be obtained without contacting a doctor, to reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and prevent people needing to leave their homes.

For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they do not need any evidence for the Company. After that, the Company may ask for evidence of sickness absence.

Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.

For staff who have returned from overseas and are required to self-isolate due to quarantine requirements and who have no symptoms, the Company must refer to its Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure.

  • Cleaning the Office and Workplace where there are Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

The Company will follow Public Health England guidance on cleaning. An additional cleaning schedule must be in place that includes but is not limited to:

  • All surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • All potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones
  • Clothing and linen used by the person should be set aside pending assessment of the person by a healthcare professional

5.12      Waste Disposal

The Company must follow the government guidelines on waste disposal and be aware of any changes required due to local guidance.

5.13      Working from Home

Where staff are able to work from home, and the Company has agreed to the arrangement, the Home Working Policy and Procedure must be followed.

The Company will investigate mechanisms to communicate effectively with staff who work from home, and may include software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom which support video conferencing and calls over Wi-Fi.

5.14      Visitors

The Company will follow regional and national guidance on visiting and the types of visiting that can take place. The Company will display information posters and advise anyone who is unwell to stay away, and will communicate clearly and ensure that there is a visitor Care Plan in place for each Resident. The Company will implement a track and trace system for visitors which can be carried out using the QCS Visitor software within the QCS Management System.

Staff can also refer to the Re-Opening to Visitors During COVID-19 Policy and Procedure for more information on how to open safely to visitors

5.15      Confidentiality

The Company will follow confidentiality and UK GDPR policies and procedures to ensure that the details of staff involved in caring for Residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are kept confidential. Employees must also respect each other’s confidentially and take care not to inadvertently share information when using social media.

Where staff are suspected or confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, their personal details must be treated as confidential, as they would be for any other Resident at the home.

5.16      Mass Testing and Vaccinations

The Company will seek to ensure that all care staff, alongside Residents, will be supported to follow GOV.UK guidance and requirements on any mass testing projects rolled out in response to spikes across the regions, to control further spread.

As a response to the roll out of vaccines, which started in December 2020, the Company will encourage all care staff alongside Residents to participate in the planned vaccination programme and, when called by the NHS, should seek to follow any direct guidance given. Further guidance can be found in the Staff Vaccination and Immunisation Policy and Procedure and the Service User Vaccines and Immunisation Policy and Procedure.

5.17      Long COVID

The Company recognises that, as well as coronavirus, Residents and staff may also be affected by the long term effects of coronavirus, known as ‘Long COVID’. Symptoms of Long COVID include:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus, earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • Rashes

Where staff or Residents present with symptoms of long COVID and are worried 4 or more weeks after having coronavirus, they should contact their GP or be supported to, where this is part of  the Resident’s Care Plan. In the event of an emergency, 999 or 111, where appropriate, should be contacted.

Support can be provided to manage and monitor symptoms at home or specialist support may be required. Where this affects the care being provided to a Resident, a Care Plan review will be undertaken and staff informed of any care changes.