Infection Prevention and Control team offer support, advice and education to local community in wake of coronavirus
It won’t be a surprise to hear that Care Plus Group’s Infection Prevention and Control team have been very busy over the course of the last six months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Given their area of expertise, the team have been on-hand to offer support, advice and education across local communities in North East Lincolnshire; ensuring best practice in infection control amongst health care workers and members of the general public to help reduce and stop the spread of the virus.
Anne Martin, Care Plus Group’s Lead Infection Control Nurse, said: “A large part of the Infection Prevention and Control team’s role is to report outbreaks of infections, especially in care homes across the area. We work quite closely with Public Health England to ensure that such outbreaks are reported through the proper channels.
“The first report of positive COVID cases we got in care homes came in April. These care homes hadn’t had any training around donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the time, so as a team we went out to visit each one to support them. We’ve continued to visit these care homes throughout the pandemic to ensure that everyone is aware of the correct procedures and adhering to them.”
In May, through NHS England national guidance that all care homes should be provided with training in donning and doffing of PPE and COVID-19 swabbing, Infection Prevention and Control were asked by the North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to carry out this task. This would be the second time that the team had been in to a care home setting to deliver training. The first time it was just staff at the affected care homes who were on duty at the time of the visit who were supported with training, but the second visits through the NHS England/ CCG were all booked in ahead of time with the care homes.
Anne said: “It was a massive undertaking for the team. We only had a week to complete the task, but we managed to get through all 44 care homes in just three days! The 44 care homes we supported were all commissioned, with the CCG taking on the 12 non commissioned care homes across the area; so it was quite a lot of care homes we supported, but we succeeded in getting through them all.
“We were actually the first team in the country to get all the care homes trained within that week. We even received a very nice email from the Chief Nurse at NHS England recognising this work!”
Throughout the course of the pandemic the team have been working in a range of care homes including those that care for older people, learning disabilities, mental health and children. The Infection Prevention and Control team have regularly kept in contact with each care home to ensure they feel supported and to reaffirm the correct procedures to keep residents and staff safe.
Anne said: “When we’ve revisited care homes some of them had plans to allow families back in to the building to visit their relatives. As a team we’ve talked and advised staff from the homes on how to best implement this safely to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We’ve also supplied them with posters to display around the building, reaffirming the correct guidance around social distancing and regular hand washing.”
Aside from providing infection control support to care homes the team have been working with Macmillan reporting any outbreaks. The team at Macmillan will then follow up with care homes to see if they need any support in regards to end of life care for residents who may have been affected by the virus. The care home visits also allowed the Intermediate Care (IC) team to identify support needed for staff who had been traumatised by the COVID events in the care home. The team alongside the Chief Executive, Jane Miller were able to seek support for those staff affected.
To assist the care homes with their training, the team filmed the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment based on the current guidance to provide a visual aid that can be referred to time and time again.
“Members of the team were filmed narrating the necessary and correct steps to don and doff PPE against the guidance at the time. The video was then uploaded to the Care Plus Group website as an external training resource. We also shared the website link with our care homes and IC Link practitioners throughout the community, so if any staff missed the training or wanted to run through it again they could do in their own time”, stated Anne.
Anne added: “Of course a few weeks after filming we got a call to say that the guidance had changed again so we had to go back in and film the video again. Although it’s taken a couple takes, the use of the videos gives us a great opportunity to provide simple resources in a community setting, as quite a lot of the standard guidance and resources haven’t been representative of our community and the type of organisations we support.”
More recently the team developed a ‘How To Wear You Face Covering’ poster alongside Navigo and North East Lincolnshire Council, as an additional resource to support face coverings becoming mandatory when entering enclosed public spaces, including shops and supermarkets.
Anne said: “To help ensure best practice in infection control across the community we felt we could help inform people by addressing some of the issues in a more interactive and simple way that would be a benefit to everyone.
“Once we’d developed the poster we took to the streets visiting shops offering them posters to help inform members of the public on the correct usage of the face coverings before entering. The campaign has been very well received by the community with many of the shops and supermarkets we visited displaying the poster in their door ways. We’ve since uploaded this resource to the Care Plus Group website, sitting alongside our donning and doffing of PPE video, for people to download a pdf copy and use.”
Furthermore, with it being agreed Care Plus Group’s new Cambridge Park facility would be rapidly refurbished so it could be made available to support health and care services locally amid coronavirus, the Infection Prevention and Control team carried out extensive work to help get the centre up and running, and safe to open to staff and patients in the first place.
Anne concluded: “Whilst it’s been a very busy period for Infection Prevention and Control, we’re proud of our work and will continue to do everything possible to support against the spread of infections such as coronavirus. We’ve had some fantastic comments from care homes across the area about the level of support and training they have received from the team so it’s pleasing they’ve found the support useful over the last few months as we come to terms with the new normal.”
The Donning and Doffing of PPE video and ‘How To Wear Your Face Covering’ poster can be found on the Care Plus Group website here https://www.careplusgroup.org/about/resources/
For further information or to contact Infection Prevention and Control please email CPG.InfectionControl@nhs.net