News and Information

News and Information

... guides, information, links and more!

Free Resources:

 PPE guide for community and social care settings (28/05/2021)

 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine - NHS (18/12/2020)

 Adult Social Care: Covid-19 Winter Plan 2020 - 2021(18/09/2020)

 Information and guidance for social or community care and residential settings (04/08/2020)

 Guidance on the sequence for putting on and removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (27/05/2020)

 NHS Test and Trace: How it Works (23/05/2020)

 Testing for Care Homes (19/05/2020)

 Health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce (11/05/2020)

 Care Quality Commission(CQC) COVID-19 insight - Key issues affecting Health and Care (11/05/2020)

 The latest documents from Dept of Health & Social Care (29/04/2020)

 COVID-19: Adult Social Care and Support (28/04/2020)

 Information on the social care sector responding to the coronavirus pandemic (27/04/2020)

 COVID-19 Safe ways of working - A visual guide to safe PPE (27/04/2020)

 Dept of Health & Social Care's Action Plan for Adult Social Care (15/04/2020)

 A guide on managing the COVID-19 pandemic in care homes for older people (30/03/2020)

News and Information:

World Diabetes Day takes place on November 14th. This is an annual worldwide event which is dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes. Each year this event is proving to be internationally effective in spreading the message about diabetes and how we can treat this condition.

World Diabetes Day is internationally recognised and is an official United Nations Day.

There are a number of events and activities that take place during this day to help raise awareness such as:

  • Sporting events for adults and children
  • Meeting and public lectures to spread public information
  • Exhibition and conferences
  • Television and radio programmes
  • Leaflets and poster campaigns
  • To find out more about World Diabetes Day and how you can take part, please click here!

    Care workers are leaving the social care sector to become Amazon warehouse pickers, and other better-paid jobs. The retailer is luring staff, offering 30% higher wages, while some workers are also leaving the care sector as they disagree to the ‘no jab, no job’ policy.

    Resultingly, the National Care Association has warned that care homes in England could face a staffing shortfall of 170,000 workers.

    Furthermore, another inconvenience to the care sector are the slowing rates of the double Covid vaccinations amongst care home staff, of which 87,000 workers in England currently do not have the double jab. By November 11th, these workers must be fully vaccinated against the virus to continue their frontline work.

    Along with the struggle to retain staff across the UK in this sector, a care home manager told the Guardian that a new Amazon warehouse in Nottinghamshire is currently tempting staff with 30% more pay.

    Anita Astle, the manager of a care home in Nottingham, has reported that they have recently lost two members of staff to the retail giant, and a further six to the NHS who are paying higher wages, and where vaccination is not yet mandatory. On top of this, they have also lost a further six members of staff who have left their positions, as they refuse to take the vaccine.

    An evening housekeeper has left their position, which paid a rate of £9.30 an hour, to pick Amazon orders at the warehouse for £13.50 an hour. The retailer also pays a £1,000 joining bonus. “She said she loves her job and doesn’t want to leave but going to Amazon she can work three days a week and earn more,” said Astle. “Society doesn’t value the work being done in social care.”

    Three quarters of care homes across the country have reported that they have experienced an increase in staff leaving their jobs. The reasons they have reported are that staff prefer a job with less stress and higher pay, and that are without the mandatory vaccination rule, which comes into effect in November.

    Anita Astle said that the vaccine policy is also demotivating staff who are happy to take the jab. This is because of the message being conveyed, which is effectively “it’s a sector that doesn’t value you and takes away your choice”. She also pointed out that those members of staff who left their jobs due to not wanting to have the vaccine, are still able to visit those who they previously cared for, due to there being no restrictions on visits from unvaccinated people.

    There were estimated to be more than 120,000 social care vaccines administered to care staff before the pandemic, and the government last month calculated in a worst-case scenario that as many as 68,000 care workers could be lost because of the decision to make the vaccine a condition of employment.

    Sources: Yahoo! News & Head Topics

    Care managers are fast-discovering that eLearning is an incredibly cost-effective way to train their care staff. However, some people remain unaware of the reasons why video-based eLearning is favourable over text-based. Below are some key reasons as to why this is the recommended way of eLearning: 


    Attention Grabbing - Videos are more likely to grab the attention  of a viewer, this is due to your eyes being more attracted to movement  over something that is static, and non-eye-catching. 


    Videos Engage Viewers  - A video can take information and make it easy for the viewer to interpret. Your brain processes visuals much faster than text. 90% of the total information transmitted to your brain is visual. Your brain is capable of processing visuals 60,000 times faster than text! 


    Video Content is Memorable  - Most people require a visual aid to learn, which text-based eLearning cannot offer. Viewers can retain 95%  of a video's message, as compared to 10%  of a text-based message! You are able to package much more information and the message you are conveying into a short narrative, as opposed to having to read loads of text. 

    Source: Idea Rocket Animation 


    Most of the other social care eLearning competitors tend to use text-based eLearning, which is also aided using stock images that have been purchased. However, at  CareTutor  we provide video-based content  which has been created by filming professional actors in real care settings .


    Your staff are more likely to retain  the knowledge that has been provided to them throughout their training, as our video-training packages also come with interactive content  to ensure they understand  and remember  the information that has been presented to them. 


    These are just some of the reasons why CareTutor  are the number one choice for social care eLearning!

    Glad to Care Awareness Week is a celebration of the UK's incredible social care workforce. It is a chance for us to show our appreciation for all of the remarkable contributions that our carers make, and to thank them for their hard work and sacrifices throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    This campaign launched in 2018, and was designed to boost the profile of carers, as they generally do not receive recognition to match the hard work that they put in. Through recognising their contribution, we hope to boost the morale of the UK's care workers and make them feel appreciated. 
    You can use the hashtag #GladtoCare on your social media account s to share your stories about social care workers and the contribution that they make in their daily working lives.


    Today marks the beginning of July’s Good Care Month, during which we celebrate the dedication and hard work provided every day by the UK’s social care workers. This is a great opportunity for us to share our stories and inspire recognition of social care as a great career path. In return we are helping to boost the morale of our care workers and making them aware that their efforts are not going unnoticed.


    With an aging population, and many individuals who have complex needs and require extra care and support, there is now an increasing demand to recruit and retain carers in the social care sector. The Good Care Month campaign will also give us a chance to show the public what it is like to work in social care and help them decide whether care might be the right career choice for them.


    Share your stories, photos and videos of the good care you provide on your social media accounts, by using the hashtag #GoodCareMonth

    Carers Week will be taking place on 7th – 13th May, which is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring. The theme for this year is ‘Make Caring Visible and Valued’, and to highlight the challenges carers face. It also helps raise awareness for those who don’t think of themselves as carers, and access or seek the support that is needed. 

    During this campaign, thousands of organisations and individuals come to together to support carers and run activities. Many people are taking on responsibilities for caring for those who are disabled, ill, or elderly. Not only should they receive the recognition for their hard work, but they should also be provided with the information and support that they need. 

    There are currently 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers and has many impacts on all aspects of life from finances to relationships and has been even more difficult this year with facing COVID-19. This also enables carers to share their experience before, and after the COVID-19 outbreak. 

    To help you prepare, we have a 20% sale on all of our DVD bundles, which come with Lesson Plans, Handouts, Assessment Quizzes, and Certification endorsed by Skills for Care.


    Dementia Action Week is a national event, which takes place between 17th – 23rd May. The UK Public discuss and raise awareness about taking action to improve the lives of those affected by dementia. One in three people who are born in the UK, will go on to develop dementia in their lifetime, which is why we must do everything we can to make sure that those affected are receiving the best care possible. There will be one million people living with dementia in the UK by 2025. By raising awareness, we hope more people are diagnosed with dementia earlier on in their lives, allowing them to get the care they need.

    Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event, which takes place between 10th – 16th May. During this event, everyone in the UK focuses on having good mental health, and this was started by the Mental Health Foundation 21 years ago. The event is open to everyone, and the focus is to encourage people to discuss mental health and the things in our daily lives that affect it. Our mental health can be affected by our social, psychological or emotional well-being. It also determines how we are affected by stress, and how we deal with it.

    Stroke Awareness Month is an international event which takes place in May. Several countries take part in raising awareness about strokes, and what may contribute towards having one.

    A stroke is a life-threatening medical condition, which occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted, reduced, or cut off. This prevents the brain tissue from receiving oxygen and the nutrients it needs. Brain cells begin to die within a matter of minutes. Taking early action can reduce brain damage, and other complications.

    If you, or someone you are with is having a stroke, pay attention to the time that it began. Some treatment options are most effective soon after a stroke has begun.

    There are several symptoms to having a stroke:

    Communication – Someone who is having a stroke may have trouble understanding speech, they may slur their words when speaking, and experience confusion.

    Paralysis, numbness of the face, arm, or leg – They may experience paralysis, weakness, or numbness. This usually affects one side of your body. They should try to raise both arms above their head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, this is a sign that they may be having a stroke. Another clear sign is if one side of their mouth begins to droop.

    Headache – Suddenly having a severe headache, followed by vomiting, dizziness, or problems staying conscious.

    Vision – Blackened or blurred vision in one or both eyes and seeing double.

    Trouble Walking – Stumbling or losing balance. Attempting to walk may also cause dizziness or loss of coordination.

    At CareTutor, we offer detailed video-based eLearning courses, including Emergency First Aid & Dementia Care 1 & 2, with full certification and endorsed by Skills for Care.

    Although resident vaccination has reached 95% of care homes, staff vaccination does not appear to have been followed through with the same level of effectiveness. Several care homes have reported that vaccination teams have entered care homes without enough vaccines for staff as well as residents. Care homes reported: - Staff were unavailable when whole home vaccination was taking place due to shift patterns. - Staff were unable to have the vaccine due to medical reasons. - Staff were unable to get alternative local appointment for vaccination. - A need to wait for 28 days if tested positive with COVID-19. Furthermore, staff have also been refusing due to disability, pregnancy, religious/philosophical beliefs or on the grounds that it has not been tested on enough people. But making it a requirement for staff who refuse, could lead to potential discrimination claims, which may be difficult to objectively justify. In fact, there is currently no legal basis in the UK to make vaccination for Covid-19 mandatory. In fact, the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 specifically precludes any government regulations from ‘requiring a person to undergo medical treatment’ which includes vaccinations. However, with deaths still rising in care homes and the total number of deaths in care homes now at 24,709, care providers are under pressure to make their care homes as safe as possible, and this low take up of the vaccine by care workers is creating significant operational challenges for them.

    The NHS has announced that a COVID-19 vaccine has now been offered to all older residents at eligible care homes in England. NHS England said more than 10,000 care homes with older residents had been offered jabs, although a "small remainder" of homes had visits deferred by local public health directors for safety reasons during local outbreaks. These will be visited by vaccinators as soon as NHS staff are allowed to do so, it said. According to a poll by the National Care Forum (NCF), approximately 95% of care homes in England have been able to get all their residents vaccinated. The sample consists of 749 care homes run by 48 care providers in England, that were asked by the NCF about the availability and take up of COVID-19 vaccination by residents and staff in care homes for older people on the 25-26 January.

    Care home workers, NHS staff and the over 80's are among the first 137,897 people to have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. It has been the largest vaccination programme in British history. The rate of vaccinations will continue to rise over the coming weeks, as more doses become available and the programme continues to expand. The government have said that a further 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been secured for the whole of the UK. Patients require two doses of the vaccine – 21 days apart – for the vaccine to be fully effective. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first vaccine to be authorised for use by the medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). If authorised by the MHRA, the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines will also be available to vaccinate those most in need.

    Now that the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, it will be made available to older people, NHS and care workers, from next week. A priority list has been published by The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which sets out that residents and staff working in care homes for older people should get the vaccine first. As the vaccine has to be delivered at very cold temperatures, the government has said 'at first we will only be able to deliver it from hospital hubs'. Pfizer has said 800,000 doses are being delivered to the NHS this week. The elderly and care workers will need to travel to hospital hubs initially to get the vaccine. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted at a Downing Street briefing, that he had not yet got "sign off" from the MHRA to deliver the vaccine to care homes. Further authorisation is needed from regulator before the 975-dose boxes can be split up into batches suitable for distribution to care homes. 
    The JCVI priority list order is as follows: 
    1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers 
    2. People aged 80+ and frontline NHS and social care workers 
    3. People aged 75+ 
    4. People aged 70+ and individuals on the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ list 
    5. People aged 65+ 
    6. People aged 16-64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality 
    7. People aged 60+ 
    8. People aged 55+ 
    9. People aged 50+ 
    It is estimated that collectively, these nine groups represent 99 per cent of preventable deaths from COVID-19.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said, the NHS is ready to start providing the new coronavirus vaccine "as fast as safely possible", and that it is "absolutely a possibility" that it could be available by Christmas, expecting a mas roll-out early next year. On Monday, early results from the world's first effective coronavirus vaccine showed it could prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid. The vaccine has been developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech and is one of 11 vaccines that are currently in the final stages of testing. The companies now plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of November - and a limited number of people may get the vaccine this year. The UK has already ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate up to 20 million people as each person will need two doses for it to work effectively. But Boris Johnson has warned people not to "rely on this news as a solution" as it is still "very, very early days". Older care home residents and care home staff are at the top of a list from government scientific advisers of who would get immunised first, followed by health workers. Mr Hancock said NHS staff would go into care homes to vaccinate residents, as well as setting up vaccination venues. Children would not be vaccinated, he said. The vaccine will not be released for use until it passes final safety tests and gets the go-ahead from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The safety of the Pfizer vaccine has still to be proved, before it gets regulatory approval. Then there are issues of who gets it and how best to use it. This will depend on some of the scientific questions that remain: whether the vaccine is able to stop transmission rather than just prevent disease, how long immunity lasts and whether it works with older people. The answers should emerge as the vaccine starts being rolled out. A limited number of people may get the Pfizer vaccine this year.

    60 organisations have come together and sent an open letter to the government urging it not to take away care home visits to families and loved ones during the month-long lockdown which starts Thursday 5 November. Matt Hancock and Minister for Care, Helen Whately, wrote this letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with the support of the 60-strong voices, calling on the government to keep care homes open to visitors and stop residents being put at risk of emotional, mental and physical deterioration. The signatories including researchers and organisations brought together by the National Care Forum (NCF) are worried isolation caused by a blanket ban on visits to care homes could be harmful and cause anguish. The coalition also states that for older people in particular, who live on average two years once they go into a care home, there simply isn’t enough time to watch and wait.

    The letter, signed by Seona Douglas, Reading Borough Council’s executive director for Social Care & Health, alongside other adult social care directors, states: "In Berkshire West we consider that it is not acceptable to ask care homes to take new admission patients who are tested positive for COVID-19 and are potentially infectious. "This is based on our experiences earlier in the pandemic, which have left many care settings very worn down with the impact that this has had for the residents and their families, some suffering significantly. Many of our care homes would struggle to convert their premises to accommodate safely such patients without this affecting others, despite the measures many have put in place to manage the risks.” “The ‘Home First’ principle is embedded in our system as the most appropriate way to encourage independence and well-being for our residents, hence we wish to consider alternatives to those proposed in your letters in order to manage COVID-19 positive discharges.” The council’s ‘Home First’ policy enables patients to return home with a tailored package of ‘wrap around’ support and reablement. The DHSC letter to all local authorities in England states ‘Anyone with a COVID-19 positive test result being discharged into or back into a registered care home setting must be discharged into an appropriate designated setting and cared for there for the remainder of the required isolation period.’

    Tom Surrey, director for Adult Social Care Quality at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), sent a letter telling local authorities they need to ‘identify designated accommodation’ and then notify the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of the details of these facilities as soon as tomorrow (16 October). The deadline for every local authority to have access to at least one CQC designated accommodation is by the end of October. It states: ‘Anyone with a COVID-19 positive test result being discharged into or back into a registered care home setting must be discharged into an appropriate designated setting and cared for there for the remainder of the required isolation period.’ The care homes being chosen by the CQC will have high infection control standards and will provide care for older people or people with learning disabilities or those with physical disabilities. They will be expected to be 'standalone units' or care homes with 'separate zoned accommodation and staffing'.

    Free PPE is part of the new Adult Social Care Winter Plan which has been drawn up to support care homes and home care services through the winter months. A £546m Infection Control Fund will also be accessible to Care Homes and Home Care care services so they can pay care workers full sick pay if they have to self-isolate. Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “We are entering a critical phase in our fight against coronavirus with winter on the horizon. Our priority over the next six months is to make sure we protect those most vulnerable receiving care and our incredibly hard-working workforce by limiting the spread of the virus and preventing a second spike. “This Winter Plan gives providers the certainty they need when it comes to PPE and provides additional support to help care homes to limit the movement of staff, stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives. We will be monitoring the implementation of this carefully and will be swift in our actions to protect residents and colleagues across the country.”

    Charities, as well as the Labour Party have called on ministers to take urgent action to help increase the number of visits for care homes in England. Helen Wildbore, the director of the Relatives and Residents Association, said "We need a better balance between protecting people from the virus and protecting their wellbeing and thinking about what makes a good life. People don’t just want to survive, they want to live.” Liz Kendall, the shadow social care minister, said the government should introduce more testing and protective equipment, while a charity that represents care residents and their families called for a wider re-evaluation of visiting rules to take into account the impact of separation from loved ones. A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We realise this is a very difficult time for families and care home residents who want to see their loved ones. Our first priority must be to protect residents and staff by ensuring visits are carried out safely to prevent outbreaks. Nadra Ahmed, the chair of National Care Association, said "While a system of proper, consistent, sustainable testing would help, in the longer term one solution could be the government’s proposal for mass tests with results in as little as 20 minutes, which could be used for visitors as well as staff and residents."

    New research suggests that care home residents should be tested even if they are feeling generally unwell, as those with coronavirus may be asymptomatic or not display typical symptoms. According to the study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and North Norfolk Primary Care, supported by UEA Health and Social Care Partners, in many cases symptoms were not typical and did not include a high temperature, cough or loss of smell. Instead, residents who tested positive for Covid-19 often presented as generally unwell, researchers say in the study which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

    Plans to adequately fund the social care sector need to be in place within a year, the head of NHS England has said.Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Sir Simon said the Covid-19 pandemic should be used to give momentum to plans to overhaul how the system works. He said the Covid-19 crisis had shone a "very harsh spotlight" on the "resilience" of the care system. That we need to "decisively answer" how high quality care could be provided long-term. "If any good is to come from this, we must use this as a moment to resolve once and for all to actually properly resource and reform the way in which social care works in this country," he said. "The reality is that after at least two decades of talking about it, we do not have a fair and properly resourced adult social care system with a proper set of workforce supports."

    Approximately 80 groups around the world are researching vaccines and some are now evenentering clinical trials. Last month, the first human trial for a vaccine was announced by scientists in Seattle. They are skipping all animal research to test its safety or effectiveness. Australian scientists have begun injecting ferrets with two potential vaccines. It is the first comprehensive pre-clinical trial involving animals, and the researchers hope to test humans by the end of April. University of Oxford researchers are aiming to have a million doses of a vaccine by September, and are starting human trials.  

    NHS Blood and Transplant are asking people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood, in order to potentially treat patients ill with the disease. They are hoping that the antibodies these survivors have built up will help to clear the virus in others. The US has already involved more than 1,500 hospitals, making this a major project.

    The Second World War veteran, 99, has raised more than £17 million for the health service by walking lengths of his garden, completing his 100th length just yesterday. Since Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan called for him to receive the honour, the hashtag #knighthoodforcaptaintom has been trending, with thousands of people signing petitions. Tom has captured the hearts of the nation, giving us all a huge boost of morale. The petition calls for him to be recognised in the next honours list, which is due to be published on the Queen's official birthday in June.

    The UK government is today expected to extend the country’s lockdown by three more weeks, as the country’s coronavirus death toll continues to rise. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who has been deputising for Boris Johnson as he recovers from coronavirus, is set to make the announcement following a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee. Labour has said it will support an extension but has called for an exit strategy to be published. This comes amid renewed warnings that it is still too soon to start easing global restrictions in the fight against the pandemic. The World Health Organisation has warned countries that are relaxing measures to do so in two-week phases, in order to avoid the emergence of a second wave. WHO has said the world now stands at a “pivotal juncture”. 

    All care home residents and staff with Covid-19 symptoms will be tested for coronavirus as laboratory capacity increases, the government has promised.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "determined" to ensure everyone who needed a test had access to one.Labour welcomed the pledge but said the social care sector needed more support.Care providers have been calling for more testing for weeks, with charities saying the virus is "running wild" amid outbreaks at more than 2,000 homes. At the moment only the first five residents who show symptoms in a care home are tested, to determine whether there is an outbreak of the virus. Providers have also complained that deaths among residents were being "airbrushed" out of official figures and demanded greater support for the industry.

    The free WhatsApp service launched today aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19). This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government. The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting. To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

    The novel Coronavirus COVID 19 is rapidly spreading around the world and the number of infected countries continues to rise. A lot is still to be learnt about this novel coronavirus, COVID 19; the basic symptoms are known and The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently states that the incubation period is up to 14 days but could be longer. Typically, symptoms show in around 5 days. Based on current figures, around 80% of people develop mild symptoms, 15% develop severe symptoms and 5% become critically ill. The death rate stated by the World Health Organisation appears to be between 1-2% but these initial figures are unreliable, given that this situation is changing day by day. Around 80% of people currently recover without medical treatment, and some become infected but do not develop any symptoms or feel unwell at all. 

    Symptoms and diagnosis  
    It’s said that COVID-19 starts with a fever, followed by a dry cough. It is reported to lead to many other possible symptoms such as shortness of breath, headache, tiredness, nasal congestion, sore throat, diarrhoea and muscle aches. Symptoms start off mild, but gradually get worse. 
    There’s a new theory suggesting those infected lose their sense of taste and smell early on too, so treat this as an indicator unless advised otherwise. There is a lot of talk about taking a temperature by using a non-contact thermometer and whether this is an effective way of detecting if someone is infected. It will show if the person has a fever which is a sign of Covid 19 infection, but it can take a few days to become sick once infected so someone may be infected but not show a temperature. 
     Preventing the spread 
     The main advice in preventing infection is to adopt good hand hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol hand gel. Hot air hand dryers will dry your hands but not kill the virus. The use of alcohol or chlorine spays over your body will not help if you are already infected. Catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues and dispose of them correctly as soon as they are used. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve. Once you have sneezed or coughed, wash your hands or use alcohol hand gel. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands – this is how the virus gets into your body. COVID-19 does survive on surfaces and you can catch it this way, so good surface cleaning is important. The WHO says that the virus can last on surfaces for up to 3 days; maybe more depending on the types of material, the temperature and humidity. 
     Avoiding close contact 
    COVID 19 is spread via human to human contact and from infected surfaces, but the new Coronavirus can be spread through respiratory droplets. These droplets are liquids that can be emitted when we cough or sneeze. These droplets are heavier than air and travel about one metre then rest on whatever surface they land on. The droplets can infect another person when they enter the body through the mouth, nose or eyes. This is why it is very important to avoid close contact with anyone who has fever, cough or any other respiratory symptoms that you suspect or know may have Coronavirus COVID 19. This means any contact of fewer than 2 metres between you and a sick person or someone you suspect of having the infection. Contact includes hugging, kissing, or shaking hands. Currently, if a case is suspected, the patient and their belongings must be isolated in a room with doors and windows closed. You should not enter the room until you have sought specialist advice and if you have already come into contact with the person, you should leave the room as quickly as possible and wash your hands thoroughly. You must try and identify potential cases as soon as possible, thereby eliminating transmission to other people. The current rule in the UK is that if somebody you live with is showing symptoms, you should self-isolate for 14 days. 
    Wash your hands 
    You can do your part in stopping the transmission of COVID-19 by using proper hand-washing techniques. There are some cases where hand-washing is a must, such as after using a toilet, coming into contact with any infectious material or when they are visibly dirty. In cases where you have come into contact with someone with a confirmed case of Coronavirus, or you suspect they have Coronavirus, wash your hands immediately, as well as frequently after then. Some people just wet their hands when they wash their hands, but proper hand-washing includes using anti-bacterial soap. Alcoholic hand-gels are also effective, but you should try and use anti-bacterial soap where possible. There are many areas of the hands which people miss, including the backs of the thumbs, the tips of the fingers and in between each finger. When not washed, the virus can survive for days, and you will likely spread it to many people. WHO recommends that the hand-washing process should take around 20 to 30 seconds minimum. This also means that you should remove any jewellery such as rings and watches before washing your hands, as these are often forgotten about but can easily harbour infection. After removing jewellery, turn the tap on and wet your hands. Apply soap so that it evenly covers all surfaces of both hands. Then rub your palms together in a circular motion, before rubbing between your fingers. After, clean the knuckles and rub your thumbs in a rotating manner, making sure to clean between the thumb and index finger. Finally, clean your fingernails before rinsing thoroughly with water. It’s then important to dry your hands – damp hands spread 1000 x the number of bacteria as dry hands do. It is advised that you use disposable paper towels to dry your hands and that you never use a reusable or communal towel. The advantage of using disposable towels is that once you have dried your hands, you can use that same towel to turn the tap or faucet off. Automatic hand dryers can be used, however using one means you have to touch the tap or faucet with your clean hands, contaminating them again. Proper hand hygiene is even more crucial than ever in today’s climate with the outbreak of COVID-19. 
     Use hand gel 
     When a tap and anti-bacterial soap is not available, alcoholic hand gel is an adequate replacement. You should only use hand gel if your hands are not visibly dirty, but they may be contaminated. The technique for hand-washing with alcoholic hand gel is very similar to that of washing in a sink or basin, however, there are one or two key differences. After removing jewellery, apply an ample amount of gel to your hands, so that it evenly covers all surfaces of both hands. Then rub your palms together in a circular motion, before rubbing between your fingers. Then clean the knuckles and rub your thumbs in a rotating manner, making sure to clean between the thumb and index finger. Finally, clean your fingernails. This process should, like hand-washing, take around 20 to 30 seconds. However, you must not then either wash off the gel from your hands or use a dryer or paper towels to dry your hands. The gel will dry on its own and should take less than a minute. If you were to then dry your hands manually, you would end up rubbing off the gel meaning it may not kill all of the contaminants on your hands. There are different types of hand gels available, but suitable and effective ones will contain at least 60% alcohol in them. Other ones may still work but are nowhere nearly as effective > 60%. Always read the label before applying and remember that this simple process could save lives. 
     Clean surfaces 
     A study of the Coronavirus has found that it can survive on surfaces such as metal, glass and plastic for a number of days. It gets there by being propelled through the air within mucus or droplets from infected people. These droplets then land on surfaces and may even be invisible to the naked eye. 
    They provide an environment in which the virus can survive for long periods of time, and so it is a must that all surfaces that may be infected are cleaned with anti-bacterial products. When wiping down surfaces, use an S-Shaped motion which will allow you to cover the entire surface area. Make sure that you pay extra attention to the sides, corners and edges of surfaces, as these are regularly forgotten but are just as likely to harbour the infection. Regularly change the wipe you are using, especially if it becomes visibly dirty. Make sure that you are using special antibacterial cleaning wipes as well, otherwise, you are just contaminating the wipes and possibly just pushing them around the surface, spreading the bacteria even more. 
    Wear PPE
     If you are caring for someone, you should use the correct protection.

    Now that the country is in lockdown, one of the risks faced for vulnerable individuals is social isolation. It has been on the radar in social care for some time about loneliness faced by vulnerable people, particularly in the community. The challenges of the Coronavirus are set to heighten this problem, leaving vulnerable people feeling completely cut off from everyone, even their loved ones. Is there anything your service can do to alleviate this? Can you, for example, do the following: - Help an individual to make calls, even video calls, to their loved ones - Call an individual to chat for 5 minutes, just to break their day up more - If you are managing a care home, could letters or well wishing be sent to your resident's? Talk to your team, you may be pleasantly surprised at the ideas they have!

    Boris Johnson thanked everyone in the NHS and Social Care for the amazing work they are doing and the huge effort that people are collectively making. He urged people to adopt social distancing, staying 2 metres apart, because even if you think you are invulnerable, there are plenty of people you can infect and whose lives will then be put at risk. Talk to your staff, who have been amazing and come to work, to ensure that the loved ones they have contact with are also social distancing, thus reducing the risk of any infection entering your service.

    Last modified: Thursday, 18 November 2021, 11:02 AM