"The widespread provision of PPE has been a huge

advantage in keeping care homes safe from virus

transmission. However, PPE is not enough on its own."

Keeping manual records of cleaning routines, and cross- checking these to ensure that nothing has been missed, can be a time-consuming business. However, this can be facilitated by implementing a “smart” checklist system such as Tork Digital Cleaning Plans. This soſtware solution incorporates pictograms and descriptions of each task, enabling the cleaner to tick off each job as it is completed. The care home manager has instant access to this data, which means they can tell at a glance whether anything has been missed.

The widespread provision of PPE has been a huge advantage in keeping care homes safe from virus transmission. However, PPE is not enough on its own: it is also crucial that thorough cleaning takes place throughout the facility and that strict hand hygiene protocols are implemented. This was made clear by NHS England’s senior infection prevention and control advisor, Gaynor Evans, who warned back in May of the risk of over-reliance on PPE, adding that basic infection- prevention and control practices are also vital.

Public Health England stipulates that hand hygiene in a care home needs to be performed immediately before every episode of care, before and aſter eating or drinking, aſter handling waste and aſter removing one’s personal protective equipment.

Plentiful hand hygiene facilities therefore need to be made available in care homes to allow staff to wash, dry and sanitise their hands at regular intervals. And all systems should allow for speed, efficiency and optimum hygiene.

Soap should be housed in closed cartridges to avoid any risk of contamination before use, and hand towel dispensers should give out only one towel at a time to ensure that each user only touches their own towel.

Soaps and towels should be kind to the hands to prevent the chapping and soreness oſten associated with frequent handwashing. Tork Extra Mild Foam Soap is particularly gentle on the hands and comes in closed cartridges for maximum

hygiene. The cartridge takes a few seconds to replace and each refill contains approximately 2.5 times as many doses of soap as a liquid soap container of the same size. This means run-outs are infrequent and a soap supply is always available when a member of staff needs it.

Tork Xpress Multifold Hand Towels are also particularly appropriate for care homes because the dispenser gives out towels one at a time to prevent the risk of cross- contamination. The Extra Soſt version of the towels is kind to the hands and will prevent any abrasion or chapping on the part of the user.

Hand sanitisers, such as the Tork Alcohol Hand Sanitiser, should be placed in strategic positions around the home to supplement handwashing facilities. A product like, for example, Tork Hand and Body Lotion will replenish the skin’s natural moisture and help prevent the hands from becoming sore.

Another challenge that care home staff face this winter is the fact that efforts are being made to allow visitors back in to see their loved ones. This will potentially provide new difficulties for staff when trying to control risks, since visitors could be bringing in the coronavirus from outside.

However, steps are being taken to ensure that visitors wear PPE and that they have no contact with other residents when they enter and exit the premises.

The readmission of visitors, the continued virulence of COVID-19 and the fact that the winter weather obliges care home residents to stay inside will continue to present new challenges for care homes. But the knowledge we have gained over the past six months, combined with greater government investment and better access to testing and PPE, will help to offset these drawbacks - and hopefully lead to safer outcomes before the vaccination programme is eventually rolled out. - 23 -


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