Compassionate domiciliary care in Spelthorne, Elmbridge and Runnymede during Covid-19

As expected, COVID-19 has presented continuing challenges to the care industry. Health, Care and Key workers at the frontline have had to learn to swim in the COVID-19 currents quickly and here in Spelthorne, Elmbridge and Runnymede, our Guardian Angel Carers are good swimmers. The whole team has gone above and beyond in its approach to keep our home care clients safe.  

Early sourcing and resourcing of our CareAngels with the PPE and guidance that they need has helped us stay ahead. The support of our home care clients and their families, to observe the guidelines, has meant we have been able to keep families in touch throughout the ongoing situation. 

The virus has highlighted to us again the benefits of home care. It has shown that living at home, with individual managed care, provides safe and happy outcomes.  

More good news has been revealed this month with 90-year-old Margaret Keenan, the first-person to be inoculated for Covid-19, and administration of vaccines beginning on a large scale. The UK health and care sector will be all hands on deck and hopefully next year we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Practising GPs, pharmacists and nurses will be joined by their retired peers, and health volunteers to get the process going. 

The vaccine is particularly good news for us and our clients too, with many in the high-risk priority groups. We expect to hear from your GPs very soon as to when we can assist you in getting your vaccination done – Should that be something you wish to take up. 

Although things are looking up, it’s important to stay alert. When so much of the population remains vulnerable to COVID-19, we must all remain cautious and continue to observe the preventative regulations, to help save lives.  

Louise Cobban, Founder of Guardian Angel Carers Spelthorne, has ensured that all of our staff, both CareAngels and office, are fully trained on infection control to understand the implications. 

We make sure that there is plenty of Personal protective equipment (PPE) supply for all our CareAngels, which they access and replenish daily for each visit they make. Along with their PPE, their uniforms are all washed at a high temperature to make sure that all precautions are taken. 

In addition to the strict measures we have put in place, we keep up with any daily updates and advice from the Government to ensure that our systems and processes continue to be delivered safely across our home care services in Surrey. 

Adaptations to our practices, in line with current Government advice, have been made and we thought it would be helpful to reiterate how you and our CareAngels are following all our guidelines, so that together we can continue to keep you safe and happy at home.

Personal Protective Equipment Best Practice

We have created four home care client scenarios, with carefully outlined guidelines, for our CareAngel team to follow when delivering care in our clients’ homes.

1 – Where a client requires physical personal care 

If a CareAngel is in contact with the client, providing our services for personal care such as washing, dressing and hair, then all our CareAngels must wear:

• Fluid repellent (type IIR) surgical mask 

• Disposable plastic apron

• Disposable gloves

• Eye protection

2 – Where a client is in the COVID-19 ‘at risk’ category

If our home care clients are ‘at risk’ or they, or someone they live with, has COVID-19 symptoms of a high temperature, loss of taste & smell and a repetitive cough, then CareAngels are required to wear:

• Fluid repellent (type IIR) surgical mask 

• Disposable plastic apron

• Disposable gloves

• Eye protection

3 – When two-metre social distancing is not possible in the home

When a CareAngel is unable to social distance to the advised two metres, with a home care client or household member, but is not required to carry out physical contact duties, and no one in the household has COVID-19 symptoms, nor is ‘at risk’, our CareAngels must wear:

• Type II surgical mask

4 – When A client tests positive for COVID-19

If caring for a client with a confirmed case of COVID-19, we will form a ‘cell’ group of CareAngels who only provide care for that individual to avoid risk of spread. CareAngels must wear:

• Overalls

• Fluid repellent type IIR surgical mask (at all times) 

• Disposable gloves

• Eye protection

HANDS FACE SPACE

The Government’s winter campaign has been really helpful in reminding us of the three important behaviours for each and every one of us to follow. Here are the points for clarity:

HANDS

Coronavirus can live for more than 24 hours in indoor environments, so CareAngels and their visitors are requested to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival and regularly throughout the day. Using hand sanitiser regularly also reduces the risk of catching or passing on the virus. It is also important to remember not to touch your face unless they have just been thoroughly washed. 

FACE

Coronavirus gets carried in the air by respiratory droplets. The Government advice states that “larger droplets can land on other people or on surfaces they touch while smaller droplets, called aerosols, can stay in the air indoors for at least five minutes, and often much longer if there is no ventilation”. Our CareAngels follow our PPE guidelines, and visitors to our clients’ homes are requested to wear face coverings at all times to reduce the spread of these droplets. 

SPACE

The virus is most likely to get transmitted when people are within 2 metres of each other. So, the risk increases rapidly the closer you get. CareAngels and family visitors are requested to keep outside the two-metre distance zone from a client. Where this isn’t possible, the necessary PPE (see scenarios above) must be used. At all times, we ask everyone in contact with our clients to remain mindful of surroundings and continue to create that space to help us continue to make the impact we need to contain the spread of Coronavirus. 

CareAngels and COVID-19 symptoms

CareAngels report to us daily on their health and wellbeing. Should they, or a member of their ‘bubble’ household, exhibit any of the COVID-19 symptoms (cough, temperature, loss of taste or smell) they will be tested immediately and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days if the test is positive.

Guardian Angel Carers will care for them too, ensuring that we provide food and essential supplies to their doorsteps (observing all social distancing requirements) where needed. 

We have also provided ongoing guidance to our team on boosting their immune systems, and have issued free vitamin D tablets to our entire team, thanks to Vegetology.

Keeping home care visits from family & friends going & Covid-19 safe 

One of the wonderful things about home care during COVID-19 is that social contact with family and friends is much more manageable, and wellbeing is kept at the heart of our approach.

In-person social interaction has been possible because ‘bubbles’ have been maintained. It has benefitted both family and our clients to keep that social interaction. We thank everyone for safely observing the guidelines to allow us to continue the social interaction between our clients and their family.

Where social interaction has not been possible, our CareAngels are facilitating FaceTime or WhatsApp video calls. We have spare tablets available should any of our CareAngels not be able to do this through their own smartphones.

CareAngel back up

We have developed a CareAngel reserves initiative and have had a fantastic response. All of the staff are reference checked and have an enhanced DBS (police check), as well as having attended our mandatory training. You can check for more details here.

We do not anticipate or expect that our core CareAngels won’t be able to provide the care you need, but in these unprecedented times when family members are less able to be the primary carer, we can be there for them. 

Our new CareAngel reserves means we can respond to families living away or support additional home care requirements, due to COVID-19 or pro-longed waits for treatment. 

From our friendly phone-call service, tech-enabled care assistance, shopping deliveries and meal deliveries to live-in care, we can tailor our duties to your own care needs. 

Keeping up social contact and assisting in recovery

We can also support those recovering from COVID-19 following a hospital stay, to convalescence and provide the reassurance, medical care and comfort that you need. 

A live-in or visiting CareAngel will also help keep on top of the domestic chores, cook you freshly-cooked meals, and be some welcome company with a cuppa if you live alone. 

Recovery care will support you to regain your confidence and physical strengths again, which can be significantly affected after a prolonged hospital stay.

COVID-19 Helpful care information and local action

Louise spends a substantial amount of time ensuring we are closely following and exceeding any safety guidelines while keeping as much ‘normality’ as possible for our clients. 

Here’s a local supportline should you need it. 

Community Coronavirus Helpline – Surrey County Council has set up a community helpline to direct residents who need support. Call 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) 

As always, we are here to help you and your family members. Even if you’re not sure if we can help, we are happy to chat to you over the phone for advice. We must all stick together through this pandemic. Please call us on 01784 611611 if you need us.