INFECTION POLICY (COVID-19)
The following is the team’s policy on infection prevention and control during the COVID-19 pandemic, this reflects government wide Infection policy as well as World Health Organisation and Social Care Institute for Excellence recommendation.
WHAT IS COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. It starts by infecting airways – through our noses and down to our vocal chords.
People then develop a fever as the immune system tries to fight off the virus, a dry cough (no mucus) and a loss/change in their normal sense of smell or taste. Other symptoms that may appear are aches, pains, nasal congestion, sore throat, confusion, or diarrhoea.
In some cases, it can then spread to the lungs, making it harder for people to breathe. In more serious cases, it can cause pneumonia.
If you experience any of the above symptoms
especially a sore throat, breathlessness, nasal congestion, cough or headache
- DO NOT COME INTO WORK.
- You should call in sick as soon as you are aware of the symptoms
- Self-isolate for the government recommended 10 days,
- After this we will discuss when you are ready to return.
If someone in your household displays any of the above symptoms
- DO NO COME INTO WORK
- You should self-isolate for the government recommended 14 days.
It is extremely important that we do not put Isaac or the family in contact with this virus, this is our priority and more important than you coming in to do your shifts.
HOW DOES IT SPREAD
We are still learning about the effects of the virus and how to best prevent its spread.
However, we know that COVID-19 is mainly spread in two ways:
- Respiratory droplets released when someone sneezes, or coughs and sometimes exhales
- Touching surfaces contaminated with respiratory droplets that can then be transferred by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
RISK ASSESSING OUTSIDE OF WORK
From this we can conclude that socialising indoors puts us at most risk from infection, the virus can survive in the air for hours and on surfaces for up to three days, depending on humidity and temperature. It is important that, even outside of work, staff are making informed decisions about infection risks within their households and beyond. This will be discussed in further detail under extra precautions.
CHAIN OF INFECTION
BREAK THE CHAIN
When considering the chain of infection, it is important to consider the role of carriers of the virus in transmission. Commitment to the infection policy should not depend on whether you or anyone in your household are showing symptoms as you may still be carrying the virus. Following the standard precautions stated below is of the upmost importance throughout the pandemic as it is how we will break the chain of infection.
- Respiratory hygiene
- Being mindful about risks involved in arriving at and leaving Isaac’s home.
- Environmental hygiene
- Essential visitors
- Frequent handwashing with antibacterial handwash and warm water following correct handwashing procedure is one of the best ways to stop the transmission of coronavirus.
- Hand sanitizer works just as well if it’s more convenient.
- Remember if using gloves that they are not sterile and will become infected by the surfaces you touch while wearing them, they are not a replacement for washing hands and should be disposed of after use and you should then wash or sanitize your hands.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are five important moments when you should clean your hands:
- Just before you provide care to a person
- As soon as you have finished providing care to a person
- Straight after you have been exposed to any body fluids
- Straight after touching the person’s surroundings (e.g. chair, door handle) if this may have contaminated your hands
- As soon as you take off protective gloves.
- I would add to this that you should wash or sanitize your hands as soon as you get into work (see more under Coming and Going)
- Before and after preparing Isaac’s food in accordance to Food Hygiene guidelines
- You should also wash your hands before you touch Isaac’s face, especially his eyes or mouth
Wearing short sleeves, keeping your nails short and without varnish, and removing any jewellery all assist with effective handwashing.
This will limit the airborne transmission of diseases, and involved catching your coughs and sneezes in a tissue which should be disposed of immediately and then washing your hands. If you don’t have time to reach for a tissue it is recommended that you catch a sneeze or cough with your elbow.
COMING AND GOING
Actions are presented in the order they should be performed in.
ARRIVING AT ISAAC’S
- Remove outerwear in living room
- Wipe phone and waterbottle down with antibacterial wipe if planning to use while with Isaac
- Wash hands to standard mentioned above.
IF LEAVING HOUSE WITH ISAAC
- Keep 2 metres away from pedestrians where possible with road safety in consideration.
- Plan your route, wide pavements and quieter roads are preferable.
- Touch Isaac as little as possible.
- Do not offer food or drink, do not wipe or touch Isaac’s face.
- Remove outerwear in living room before re-entering Isaac’s room.
- Wash hands thoroughly before you touch anything in Isaac’s room even the CD player.
- Wipe down Isaac’s chair handles (and if you did touch anything in Isaac’s room before washing hands then you will need to wipe this too.)
It is important that Isaac’s room and bathroom is kept clear of clutter.
- Tidy up after yourself as you go.
- Tidy kitchen as you go, putting things in the dishwasher as soon as possible.
- Wipes and gloves should go straight into the bin after use.
- PPE (gloves and facemasks) is to be worn by everyone (see below how to safely use and remove)
- You should wear a face mask and encourage Isaac to do the same
- Make sure Isaac is as comfortable as possible, put music on and talk to him
- Wipe down anything that has been touched by visitor.
As mentioned above workers are expected to consider the risks to Isaac’s wellbeing both within the working environment and beyond. While we cannot make or enforce demands about what you do in your own home, it is important you can make well-informed assessments of the infection risks in your home.
The WHO recommends
- Making sure you and those around you are regularly and thoroughly washing your hands
- Maintaining 2 metre distance from people
- Avoiding crowded places
- Avoiding touching mouth, face, or eyes
- Making sure you and those around you have good respiratory hygiene
- The WHO also recommends washing your fruit and veg thoroughly before eating.
If a household member is working outside the home, extra precaution is encouraged
- If they can change at work that is the safest option, if not, the recommendation is that they should change and shower as soon as they get home, putting work clothes straight in the wash.
- Make sure they are well versed in infection control and the risk to Isaac.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN HEALTH
- The winter spike of coronavirus cases is predicted by experts due to a concern about the interaction between seasonal flu and coronavirus. To avoid this, we are organising flu vaccinations for everyone.
- This has been a stressful and taxing time make sure you are eating and resting well and finding time for things you enjoy.
- Stretching (as recommended in Handling and Lifting policy) is good for maintaining physical wellbeing and mental health.
- Check in with yourself at work and make sure you are getting what you need. If Isaac is resting and you’ve tidied up after yourself, step outside for a moment, or make a cup of tea. If it’s getting stuffy in the room open the windows to get some fresh air circulating.
- Consider in what ways this pandemic has been hard for you and identify what you can do to look after yourself. Do you need to call a friend as lack of socialising is wearing you down? Do you need to spend more time outside because working indoors with Isaac is difficult for you? You need to be well in yourself before you can take proper and safe care of Isaac. Be open with us so we can help.