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IMPORTANT Update to guidance on use of PPE in client homes

Important update on guidance on use of PPE in client homes 07.04.2020

As you are aware from my previous messages, HFH are following national government and Public Health England (PHE) guidelines on infection control and the use of personal protective equipment in supporting our clients and staff.

Yesterday the government released updated guidelines. There is a significant change in advice for supporting some of our clients:

Provision of care in an individuals home or usual place of residence:

For delivery of care to any individual meeting the criteria for shielding (vulnerable groups) or where anyone in the household meets the criteria for shielding, as a minimum, single use disposable plastic aprons, a surgical mask and gloves must be worn for the protection of both the patient and the carer. (Please see the end of this email or follow the link for more information on the criteria for shielding).

  • The use of disposable plastic apron and gloves are standard normal practice for HFH.
  • The addition of “surgical mask” for this defined group of clients is new.
  • HFH do not normally use or keep a supply of surgical masks (we do have a small supply of specialist masks to use if a client household shows symptoms of COVID-19).
  • Therefore we have taken the following immediate action.

What are we doing?

Yesterday:

  • Our clinical team have or will contact all clients to identify who has received a letter identifying them as meeting shielding criteria – if a client has not yet spoken with a member of our clinical team please contact us today, thank you.
  • We applied for, secured and took delivery of an initial limited supply of surgical face masks from the national emergency supply.
  • We contacted suppliers and are working to obtain a direct supply of surgical face masks

Today:

  • We will be contacting and delivering an initial supply of face masks to those clients identified as meeting shielding criteria
  • We will be contacting the Carers working with those clients to train them in how to use the masks effectively
  • We will commence speaking with and risk assessing our remaining HFH clients to identify any clients who have not received shielding letters but potentially do meet the criteria (this will take 2 or 3 days to complete)

PHE current advice on use of face masks in the community:

  • There is very little evidence of any benefit from the use of face masks outside of the clinical or care settings, where they play a very important role.
  • To be effective, face masks must be worn correctly, changed (frequently) appropriately, removed properly, disposed of safely and used in combination with good universal hygiene behaviour.
  • Research shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours reduces over time when wearing face masks for prolonged periods, such as in the community.
  • Therefore, PHE does not advise masks in public places and for those working in supermarkets, waste collection, schools and similar settings.
  • The UK does not currently advise use of face masks outside of care settings, in line with PPE guidance.

PHE will continually review guidance in line with emerging evidence and WHO views, and update our guidance if new evidence suggests that we should do so.

Thank you for your ongoing support in following national guidance and working to keep you safe.

Yours sincerely

Paula & the Senior Management Team

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

1.Solid organ transplant recipients.

2.People with specific cancers:

people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy

people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy

people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment

people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer

people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors

people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

3.People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

4.People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

5.People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

Paula Friend

Managing Director

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