Supporting our care homes in the battle against Covid-19

Supporting care homes during the coronavirus outbreak is high on the government’s priorities, and public services in Gloucestershire have joined forces to help the county’s care homes in the fight against Covid-19.

With their elderly and vulnerable residents, care homes are at particular risk from Covid-19, and this is why NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), under the direction of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF), and in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Public Health, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Constabulary and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, has undertaken targeted training for care homes to make sure infections are prevented wherever possible, and contained where detected.

The training covers all aspects of preventing and controlling infections as well as the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and is based on a ‘train the trainer’ model with a ‘super trainer’ delivering training to nominated representatives from the NHS, police service, fire and rescue service and council, who then share their learning within local care homes.

Emma Savage, Associate Director for Self-care, Prevention and Diabetes at NHS Gloucestershire CCG, has stepped up to the challenge of becoming the county’s ‘super trainer’, in charge of rolling out the training to 23 local trainers.

Emma said: “The training is very practical, interactive and supportive to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 within care homes. It emphasises the importance of good hand hygiene, such as not wearing rings with stones or watches, keeping nails clean and short nails and most importantly washing hands for at least 20 seconds before starting work or providing care to a resident.

It also includes the correct process for putting on and removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Advice on the recommended method for removal of PPE has developed during Covid-19, so it’s really important for those who have previously received training to have this refresher. Each member of staff then has to practice the correct technique. It’s not a pass or fail but a supportive training package.

These are unprecedented times, and as health and care teams, we have had to adapt to protect residents in care homes as much as we possibly can. I’m proud to be making a difference; this training absolutely saves lives.”

The training is offered on a face-to-face basis, either in person, or by Zoom video link. The 23 trainers across the county have been busily training the county’s 229 care homes for older people, learning disability, mental health and physical disability. There is one trainer for every 10 care homes who are from the NHS, police, fire service and Council.

Cllr Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member with responsibility for the fire service, said:

“Minimising the risk to care homes has been a priority for us and this training will be invaluable in helping to prevent and control any infections. I’m grateful to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and all our partners for the work they are doing in delivering this training.

Firefighters from GFRS have been carrying out numerous other duties, such as driving ambulances, delivering PPE, food and medicine, and this is another example of how they have risen to the challenge to help save lives and support the battle against coronavirus in our county.”