Arevik Jackson, pupil barrister at Kings, provides an outline of the Public Health Guidance for supported living.
The Guidance provides an outline of steps that supported living providers can take to maintain service delivery through setting out key messages to support planning and preparation in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19. To maintain service delivery, providers of supported living are advised to ensure that their lists of clients are up to date. The advice is to work together with local authorities to establish plans for mutual aid, including sharing of the workforce and identify individuals who are self-funding, to help them to establish the levels of informal support available.
The Guidance also addresses circumstances where an individual receiving care and support has symptoms of COVID019 and provides a practical guide as to the measures required.
Overall, the Guidance contains a number of steps to be taken from both: the planning and service delivery perspectives.
SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF THE GUIDANCE
“Personal protective equipment
The risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures. Care workers should use personal protective equipment for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.
Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations.
In particular cases, if there is a risk of splashing then eye protection will minimise risk.
New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin for disposal.
If care workers undertake cleaning duties, they should use usual household products, for example detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces.
Clean frequently touched surfaces. Personal waste (for example used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin which can be disposed of as normal.
If careworkers support the individual with laundry, then they should not shake dirty laundry before washing. This minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
Wash items as appropriate, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. If the individual does not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after the 7-day isolation period has ended. The laundry can then be taken to a public laundromat.
Items heavily soiled with body fluids, for example vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washed, should be disposed of, with the owner’s consent.
Applying ‘household isolation’ principles
Guidance has been published recommending action for all members of a household if one person is showing symptoms. In some cases this may be relevant for supported living provision. Providers and residents will need to make judgements on a case-by-case basis. It is important to consider the unique nature of individual supported living services, which range from individual self-contained properties that can be treated as separate households, through to shared environments with communal areas where the principles of household isolation may apply.
Providers also need to consider the underlying health conditions of residents and their vulnerability to COVID19. Further guidance on vulnerable groups and isolation has been published. The needs of all individuals should be considered when taking forward isolation.”