We review and monitor the evolving situation with the pandemic regularly and adapt accordingly. The safety and wellbeing of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to us. The information provided below provides a breakdown of some of the key steps we have taken to date in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping our clients safe
In line with our Business Continuity Plan we regularly review our services based on the needs of our clients and the capacity of our care workforce. We take a risk-based approach to this to ensure that we strike the right balance. Decisions about reallocating visits and tasks, or reducing visits, are made with due consideration of the wishes and feelings of the person receiving care and their families where appropriate, in line with a person-centred care approach.
We work in partnership and transparently with Local Authorities, commissioners, the sector regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC) and other partner agencies to balance decisions made. We follow the Department of Health and Social Care guidance on providing home care. We are equipped with NHS email addresses to allow remote, secure sharing of information relating to care between agencies.
To provide additional support to our Registered Managers we have enhanced our governance structure through regular senior management support.
We have introduced regular well-being calls to clients and families where appropriate. Additionally these provide ongoing useful information on any changes in circumstances that we should be aware of.
All of our care team have been appropriately informed and trained in Infection Prevention and Control guidelines and best practices – we regularly refresh this information to ensure it remains relevant.
We hold a large stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times to ensure our care workers are well equipped to deliver care safely. Our PPE stock is monitored weekly, and we have accumulated a back-up store of PPE to cover us in the event of supply chains being unable to deliver, as was the case during the first lockdown.
Whenever possible, the same care workers visit the same client group, meaning higher continuity of care and lower risk of cross infection. This is monitored daily. We ask our clients to have ready access to allow the care worker(s) visiting them to wash their hands in their home with soap and warm water and clean towels to dry their hands.
Reporting symptoms of COVID-19
For those customers that we have registered on our Birdie Care Planning system, we have a facility to report in real-time anyone that is displaying COVID-19 symptoms, in order for us to immediately take appropriate action to maintain their safety and that of the people involved in their support.
For those customers not yet registered on the Birdie Care Planning system, our care workers are instructed to contact their immediate line manager via telephone to report any customers with potential symptoms of COVID-19, again, in order for appropriate safety measures to be implemented.
Any care worker that identifies with any COVID-19 symptoms, or who has been in contact within the past 48 hours (without PPE) with someone who goes on to become symptomatic is asked to immediately self-isolate, contact NHS Track and Trace and have a COVID-19 test. They are only allowed to return to work after receiving a negative test result, (however they are unable to retest for 90 days after a positive COVID-19 test as fragments of the virus may remain) or after NHS Track and Trace have permitted them to end self-isolation. All of our care team are paid for any periods of self-isolation.
All offices have implemented a working-from-home plan to minimise the working capacity in the office environment. These plans cater for the needs and safety of the service, as well as the personal circumstances of individuals. Where an employee can work from home they are provided with their own equipment, such as laptops and phones, to minimise sharing. Working from home risk assessments are conducted regularly so that employees have an opportunity to raise concerns should their circumstances change. Where working from home may compromise the safety of the service, our management team keep the number of individuals in the office to a minimum and rotas the same people to work together in “bubbles”, respecting effective cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures; remaining two metres apart.
Staff are asked to work side-by-side or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face whenever possible. Where this is not possible, protective screens have been installed.
Regular communication with all office team members and the care team is undertaken to continually check and monitor their well-being. Workplace risk assessments are conducted and reviewed regularly, in line with guidelines and best practices.
Office Cleanliness and Hygiene
We have an regular cleaning schedule, where all “touch-points” are cleaned and sanitised. This includes door handles, light switches, hand-rails, kitchen appliances and work surfaces, toilet flush handles, taps etc. A full clean of the entire office is completed daily, with a deep clean fortnightly. We ask all of our staff not to share cups, cutlery or crockery without thorough cleaning first. Although toilets and lavatories are cleaned regularly we ask all of our staff to use the provided disinfectant before and after use, and to also clean and disinfect their own work-stations on a daily basis. No sharing of workstations or computer equipment is permitted, without full sanitisation having been completed first.
Hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers are widely available throughout our offices.
Upon entry to the office in the morning, each staff member is required to have their temperature checked and recorded, and the same applies to any visitors during the day. Anyone displaying a high temperature (37.7 degrees Centigrade or above) is asked to leave the premises, return home and call 111 for advice.
Visitors are restricted to one person in reception at a time, and we insist that face-coverings are worn in all communal areas of our buildings.
The safety of our care staff
Additional training has been provided to our care workers in areas such as donning and doffing PPE. Further reference and guidance is available from Public Health England, including helpful videos on the donning and doffing procedures.
Our stock reserve of PPE has been substantially increased, and consists of gloves, aprons, masks, shields, arm covers, gowns and hand sanitiser. We ask all of our care workers to alert us with plenty of notice ,ideally more than a few days, when they are approaching low quantity of PPE in order for us to prepare stock for them to minimise time spend in the office.
Staff have also been instructed of the correct procedure to follow if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19. COVID-19 tests are readily available and conducted twice-weekly.
Our care workers are required to follow the PPE Guidance issued by Public Health England. Additionally we ask all care staff to wash their uniform daily to minimise the risk of cross infection and clean their smartphone after every visit.
The use of hand sanitisers as well as effective handwashing should occur at a minimum before starting a visit and at the end of the visit.
In addition to the regular communication with our care workers to check on their well-being, all staff are members of our Employee Assistance Programme. All employees have access to a confidential 24-hour telephone counselling service to discuss any worries or concerns about the pandemic.
We recognise the risk of over-working, and therefore prompt our care staff to book holiday leave, rest and time off. We monitor our care worker capacity daily so that we can manage risk promptly.
Infection control procedures
We have informed staff that PPE is only effective when combined with:·
Hand hygiene (cleaning your hands regularly and appropriately),
Respiratory hygiene and avoiding touching your face with your hands,
Following standard infection prevention and control precautions
They have been reminded that they must perform hand hygiene immediately before every instance of care delivery and after any activity or contact that potentially results in hands becoming contaminated. This includes the removal of PPE, equipment decontamination and waste handling.
They are also reminded not to wear nail varnish or false nails, keep their nails short and use moisturiser after hand washing to keep the skin on their hands intact. More information on this is outlined in the WHO Five moments for Hand Hygiene guidance.
If staff do not have suitable facilities for cleaning hands in a client’s home, they are advised to carry hand sanitiser (provided) or cleaning wipes to make sure they can clean their hands when they need to. They are advised to avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes during and between support-led tasks and to practice effective hand hygiene both before and after eating or drinking. PPE should be used and disposed of appropriately.
We advise that our staff avoid car sharing unless absolutely necessary. If this is unavoidable we advise they share with the same individual only, keep windows open to aid ventilation, and wear face-masks.
If you are interested in any of our services, you can contact us in a number of ways.
1. You can call us on 01332 275060 where one of our friendly and trained operators will be glad to take your call.
2. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. You can complete the online enquiry form.
In order for us to manage your enquiry efficiently, it would be useful for you to provide us with the following details.
Location of where the service will be required.
(If you are interested in one of our Extra Care schemes, we will arrange for a call to you from one of our Extra Care team.)
The age and a brief summary of your needs - what do you want us to do.
How many calls a day are you looking for and what would be the acceptable times of the calls.
When would you like support to start.
Contact details and a preferred time of day for us to contact you.
Once we have taken the basic details from you, the customer and the service that you are looking for, we will liaise with the relevant Branch Operations Team who monitor capacity in your area to ensure we have available care workers to meet your required times.
Following this, your enquiry will be passed on to an a member of the Field Care Supervision (FCS) team who will contact you within 24 hours (Mon-Fri) to arrange a more in depth conversation.
You will be allocated to a named assessor who will then remain with you throughout your time with Key 2 Care. The FCS will complete an initial assessment over the telephone which allows us to then begin to create your plan of support, a rota to meet your needs and carers to match your requirements.
This could take anything from 30 minutes to an hour.
The FCS will want to speak with yourself or your next of kin or a family friend to gain as much detail as possible so that we can send out an initial support plan with the first carer to attend.
We believe that this process provides key details and information from the onset to ensure a safe and appropriate service being delivered.
You may wish for your next of kin, or a family friend to accompany you at the face to face visit.
The FCS will always give you their name before the visit and will not arrive too early, they will be wearing an ID badge which they will show to you.
This visit will take around an hour.
The FCS will ask you for some more details and may ask to see you walk, stand, sit if this is relevant to the support that you need - this is to ascertain if we need to refer you to our occupational therapy partners for any equipment.
The FCS will complete a risk assessment of the environments that you receive care within - the FCS will explain this to you.
The FCS will want to know how your support has been with us so far and if there is anything we could be doing better or in addition to the services already being provided.
Your FCS will be available for contact via email or telephone at any time and they or a senior carer will call you every 3 months to ensure that you are satisfied with our services.
In addition, we will review your service with you every 12 months or before at your request. When your FCS makes initial contact, they will also plan to come and meet with you on a day that suits you and at an agreed time.
Complete this form and we'll give you a call within 48 hours to discuss how we can help.