Extra precautions when at work

The first thing to do is minimise the risk of your PA/carer bringing the virus into your home on their body by following these steps.

Regular hand washing

The virus is normally passed on by entering your mouth, nose or eyes. So the main protections should include your PA/carer washing their hands again before any of the following activities:

  • preparing any food or helping you eat
  • making a drink and especially when touching a straw
  • putting in eyedrops or applying make up
  • giving you tablets
  • helping you brush your teeth

This is a BBC guide on how to wash your hands properly.

Although not in English, this is a very good visual guide guide because it shows so clearly what happens if you don’t do it properly

Providing care tasks, cleaning and handling launching, and using PPE (personal protective equipment)

There is guidance the government has produced on special measures people involved in home-care work should follow. They haven’t yet produced any specific guidance for people who employ PAs (which is why we are producing all of this!). But the home-care work guidance has some good advice in general around using PPE (personal protective equipment), cleaning and handling laundry.

PPE (personal protective equipment) includes things such as aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks. The above guidance includes information on where and how to use these. However, it’s quite difficult getting hold of these at the moment. Tower Hamlets Council have managed to procure some that it can give out to direct payments users – find out how to collect PPE for your PAs/carers. Alternatively you can contact your local pharmacy and potentially use some of your contingency money to buy extra. Remember to keep receipts (for your monitoring).

Extra cleaning

No one is certain how long the virus can survive on different surfaces. This article in the Guardian newspaper shows how the virus can survive up to 72 hours on some surfaces, and potentially even longer although it’s much less likely to be strong enough to infect you after then. So cleaning surfaces around the home is important.

You should therefore create a schedule of things that people should clean when they arrive, or before they leave, to reduce the chance that one person passes the virus onto another. This might include services such as:

  • front door handles and pulls
  • internal door handle (both sides)
  • all handles in the kitchen including fridge, freezer, drawers, cupboards, microwave, oven, dishwasher
  • all kitchen surfaces
  • devices such as kettle, toaster control, microwave controls, cooker controls, rubbish bin lids
  • the toilet flush and toilet seat, and toilet brush handles
  • all taps in the home
  • light switches
  • your mobile phone
  • wheelchair controller and other specialist equipment (make sure this is done safely)
  • computer keyboard and computer mouse
  • remote controls
  • bannister and stair handle
  • anything else you think gets touched regularly.

Consider changing towels and tea towels daily. Also if you or they sneeze, throw the tissue straightaway into a bin or down the toilet, and then wash hands.

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