Message from HFH - 31 March 2020
I am writing to thank you for your understanding and co-operation in working with us to ensure your continued support from HFH during this difficult time.
Last week I shared with you the need to:
- adhere with your household and carer team to the national directions - especially regarding good hygiene and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- follow social distancing and social isolation guidance in your daily life and that of your household
- if you or a member of your household are unwell, inform your Carer and Care Co-ordinator (or On Call Care Co-ordinator) immediately on 020 8944 8831. A member of our clinical team will contact you to discuss the situation
In addition, to help we have made some changes to our automated call answering system which are aimed at simplifying how you contact your Regional Team – whether they are working in the Wimbledon Office or remotely.
To talk to your team please dial 020 8944 8831 and choose Option 2
Your call will be answered, but it may be by a member of another team and they will connect you or take a message and ensure you are called back in a short period of time. Understandably, there has been a high volume of calls during this period and we have recruited additional staff to help but please bear with us if this takes longer than usual.
I have been asked for some further information about personal protective equipment and what will happen if you or a member of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Do HFH have sufficient supplies of Personal Protective Equipment?
All home care providers are part of a local and national network to ensure that supplies reach the right people at the right time and to ensure that no individual company or individual stock-pile PPE items – this includes gloves, aprons, fluid resistant masks ad specialist ffp3 masks.
This should not in any way stop the appropriate use of PPE but we all must be aware to use the continuing stock wisely and not put unnecessary pressure on already stretched national production capacity and supply chain.
We all need to play our part – please remember:
- The use of (routine) PPE is for protecting Clients and Carers in the home – it is not to be used for Household member or Carer travel via Public transport.
- If you observe handwashing is not done efficiently while your care i.e. handwashing on entering, after shifts, etc., please contact your Nurse.
Provided you, your households and our staff follow social distancing and normal PPE and good hygiene procedures the risk of you acquiring COVID-19 is low – this is why we keep emphasising the need for us all to follow those guidelines.
What will happen if I or a member of my household develop symptoms of COVID-19?
We have established a process to enable us to
- Maintain your support in your home environment, unless you develop significant complications
- Protect and minimise the risk of infection for the carers supporting you
- Protect and minimise the risk of infection to other HFH clients
How will this affect my Core Carer team and continuity of care?
If you or a member of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 we will review which Carers have worked in your household over the 7 days previous to you or a member of your household developing symptoms.
- Providing those carers remain well, we aim to keep them working within your household and not with other clients for the next 14 days.
- This may mean this group of carers will pick up shifts which other carers were scheduled to work over the coming 14 days.
- The carers who have been swapped out will pick up shifts with the clients whom the carers who are remaining with your household were due to support.
- If there remain any gaps in your rota for the following 14 days we will make sure that cover is provided, but there may still be a change from the originally planned carer.
- If one of your carers becomes unwell they will be covered as usual.
What additional personal protective equipment will my carers need?
This depends on the arrangements and environment within your household:
- If it is a member of your household who has symptoms of COVID-19 but they are able to isolate themselves from you and your carers (including separate bathroom) then there is no need to change the precautions and use of PPE already in place.
- If it is a member of your household and it is not possible for them to self-isolate away from you and your carers within your home, or if you have developed COVID-19 symptoms there will need to be additions made to the personal protective equipment used. This will include:
- the introduction of specialist masks and possibly goggles
- changes to how waste is disposed of
- the handling of laundry
Your Nurse Case Manager will talk with you and your Care team about:
- the additional arrangements & why they are needed
- how the additional PPE is properly used
There is sufficient Personal Protective Eqipment nationally, provided we all follow Public Health England guidance on how we use the equipment and do not stock pile or use more than is recommended.
Therefore it is really important that if nobody in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19 then:
- Care workers should follow advice on hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Care workers should wear a clean change of clothes each day and use the normal PPE
- Use of facemasks
- We recognise that many Carers feel that they are placing themselves and their families at risk by the nature of the work they are doing. We also know that wearing a facemask for routine social contact can offer people a sense of additional protection when they are worried about their own safety, or that of their family.
- However, national guidance is to reinforce the message that facemasks are only required when supporting someone who has signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Facemasks are not required for normal working with people who are not symptomatic.
Our central office support teams are working hard in the background to keep our services running and our staff and yourselves informed and supported. Please help us, and remember:
In the event of the YOU or A MEMBER OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD developing symptoms of COVID-19 You or your Carer must immediately contact your HFH Care Co-ordinator (or On Call Care Co-ordinator) on 020 8944 8831
Thank you for your support and co-operation
Paula & the HFH Senior Management Team