Strada Care’s Coronavirus Policy and Procedure
Last updated 14/03/2020
1.1 Strada Care recognises that the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) which results in the disease COVID-19 is a fast-moving situation. With the WHO stating that it’s too early to say whether the disease will be labelled an ‘outbreak’, Strada Care understands that the World Health Organisation have stated that countries should be preparing themselves. As care providers, ensuring robust infection control and business continuity plans form part of preparing business at Strada Care for any events.
1.2 Strada Care will ensure that staff are aware and understand the importance of pandemic preparedness and will carry out preparations by following the checklist in the Pandemic Policy and Procedure at Strada Care. Strada Care understands that business continuity planning involves all aspects of the business and to be effective Strada Care must work with their partners, suppliers and commissioners to ensure that a safe and effective service can be maintained.
1.3 Strada Care understands that they have a responsibility for ensuring that staff follow good infection control and prevention techniques and that they support Service Users with this too. Strada Care will ensure that staff have access to reliable information to reduce anxiety and dispel any myths and inaccurate information that may cause worry or distress to staff, Service Users or the wider public.
2.1 Pandemic Policy
Strada Care recognises that the WHO has declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern, known as a PHEIC, but have not classified it as an epidemic. Strada Care however, will review the Pandemic Policy and Procedure and complete the checklist to ensure that the business is prepared and that robust business continuity plans are in place. Strada Care will ensure that staff have access to the Coronavirus Fact Sheet within the Forms section of this document.
2.2 Reducing the Risk of Contracting or Spreading the Virus
Strada Care will ensure that staff follow the WHO advice to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and reducing the risk of spreading it. The following procedures must therefore be followed;
- Wash your hands regularly and properly by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing (social distancing). When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick
- Practice respiratory hygiene. Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and are having difficulty breathing, seek medical attention by calling your GP or 111. Do not go directly to your GP or hospital. Why? 111 and your GP will have the most up-to-date information on the situation. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to direct you quickly to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help to prevent the spread of viruses and other infections
- Stay informed and follow advice given by 111, your GP or Public Health England. National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves
- People who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work
Staff should wash their hands:
- Before leaving home
- On arrival at work
- After using the toilet
- After breaks and sporting activities
- Before food preparation
- Before eating any food, including snacks
- Before leaving work
- On arrival at home
Strada Care will follow confidentiality and GDPR policies and procedures to ensure that the details of staff involved in caring for Service Users with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is kept confidential. Employees should also respect each other’s confidentially and take care not to inadvertently share information when using social media.
Where staff are suspected or confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, their personal details should be treated as confidential, as they would be for any other Strada CareService User.
2.5 Safe Staffing
In the event of an outbreak of COVID-19, where staff are moved from other areas to support work on COVID-19, assessments should be made on the ability to continue to deliver safe and effective care in the services affected. Steps should be taken to mitigate any risks resulting from staff moving to other areas.
2.6 Reducing the Risk of Stigmatization
Stigma occurs when people negatively associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a specific population. In the case of COVID-19, there are an increasing number of reports of public stigmatization against people from areas affected by the epidemic, this means that people are being labelled, stereotyped, separated, and/or experience loss of status and discrimination because of a potential negative affiliation with the disease. Strada Carewill ensure that staff understand the importance of preventing and addressing social stigma by making sure facts are available to staff
and Service Users.
2.7 Identifying Possible Cases of the Virus
The current advice from Public Health England is as follows;
If, in the 14 days before the onset of illness (cough or fever or shortness of breath), there has been travel to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand, this includes transit, for any length of time, in these countries or contact (see definition below) with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or someone has;
- Severe acute respiratory infection requiring admission to hospital with clinical or evidence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome on x-ray, or
- Acute respiratory infection of any degree of severity, including at least one of shortness of breath (difficulty breathing in children) or cough (with or without fever), or
- Fever with no other symptoms are immunocompromised but may not have the same symptoms as someone with healthy immune system
the advice is to;
- Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
- Call NHS 111 to inform them of the recent travel to the country
2.8 If someone has returned from the areas below since February 19 and develop symptoms they must stay at home and call 111 for advice. They do not need to follow this advice if they have no symptoms.
- Northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini)
2.9 Definition of ‘Contact’
Contact with a case is defined as any of the following:
- Living in the same household
- Direct contact with the case or their body fluids, or in the same room of a healthcare setting when an aerosol generating procedure is undertaken on the case without appropriate PPE
- Direct or face to face contact with a case, for any length of time
- Being within 2 metres of the case for any other exposure not listed above, for longer than 15 minutes
- Being otherwise advised by a public health agency that contact with a confirmed case has occurred
2.10 Actions if a Service User Meets the Criteria and Displays Symptoms
If a Service User complains of symptoms and meets the criteria above from either travelling or contact with others, staff must make sure;
- The Service User is safe and withdraw from the room
- They immediately wash their hands and avoid touching the face, nose, mouth or eyes
- They contact 111 for advice or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms
- They contact Strada Care as soon as possible and advise of the situation. This must be a high priority
- They do not attend any other Service Users, visit their GP or travel in the community until advice is sought
- Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, staff should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag then throw the tissue in the bin. If they do not have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow
- If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available. This will apply only to the period of time while waiting for transport to hospital
2.11 Action if a Member of Staff Reports Symptoms
- Strada Care will ensure that the member of staff has sought advice from 111 or the GP
- Strada Care must contact the relevant Surrey County Council Locality Team and MASH, and the local health protection team for advice
- Advice must be sought on whether the member of staff will need to self-isolate and what action will need to take place for any Service Users that they may have had contact with
- If a member of staff reports that there are concerns about their children, close family, friends who they have had close contact with the local health protection team must be contacted for advice
- Strada Care must ensure that confidentiality is maintained and that records are held in line with Data Protection Act requirements
- In the event of a confirmed case, closure of the office, workplace or residential setting is not recommended. Strada Care will be contacted by the Public Health England (PHE) local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on actions that should be taken
2.12 Cleaning the Office and Workplace Where There are Confirmed Cases of COVID-19
The local Health Protection Team will provide advice on cleaning. Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:
- All surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
- All potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones
- Clothing and linen used by the person should be set aside pending assessment of the person by a healthcare professional
Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected.
2.13 Rubbish Disposal Including Tissues
- All waste that has been in contact with the individual, including used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids, should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. It should be put in a safe place and marked for storage until the COVID-19 test result is available, which will be within 24 hours
- If the individual tests negative, this can be put in the normal waste
- Should the individual test positive, the local Health Protection Team advise you what to do with the waste and laundry
2.14 Raising Concerns
Strada Care has effective procedures in place to allow staff to raise any concerns in relation to equipment, policies and processes for managing COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. All staff must be aware of the Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure at Strada Care and be able to raise concerns without any fear and receive timely feedback on their concerns. Please speak to your Team Leader or Manager as appropriate.
Alternatively, you may contact the Head Office by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 01737 669917.