Caring for patients with COVID-19 requires certain precautionary measures to protect yourself and keep other people safe.
In this article, Virtus Care will cover the basic principles to keep in mind when caring for COVID-19 (+) patients.
According to the NHS, patients with suspected COVID-19 infection should avoid going outside for any reason except for medical emergencies.
Additionally, these patients need to call their physicians before visiting to notify them about the possibility of being COVID-19-positive, so they can take the necessary protective measures.
If you are taking care of a coronavirus patient in an isolated home, make sure to separate them from other people in the facility to avoid viral contamination.
Overall, the NHS recommends following these steps to keep everyone safe:
• Patients with suspected contamination should wear facial masks, especially around other people
• Do not share kitchen equipment and other material of suspected patients with healthy individuals
• Visits should be redistricted to a minimum
• Elderly patients and those with compromised immune systems should be given top priority in isolation, as they tend to be the most vulnerable to COVID-19
• Make sure all people in the facility are washing their hands frequently to avoid transmission
• If a patient develops severe symptoms, contact the nearest hospital for professional help
Unfortunately, healthcare workers are predisposed to getting infected due to prolonged contact with COVID-19 patients. However Virtus Care takes every precaution to mitigate any possibility of infection, it is vital to know the actions needed if a care worker ends up being infected.
If you are a healthcare worker and experience symptoms of a nonspecific viral infection (e.g. dry cough, dyspnea, sore throat, chest pain), you should immediately head to the appropriate COVID-19 unit to get tested.
Moreover, you should stop going to work and isolate yourself while waiting for the test results to be back.
Health care workers should be using appropriate PPE at all times. PPE helps to protect the care worker from exposure to body fluids and substances. PPE that complies with relevant national standards should be readily available and accessible by all health services, Virtus Care ensures all of it’s staff have easy access to all necessary PPE and trained in procedures with how to use and dispose of PPE.
The use of gloves shouldn't be considered an alternate to performing hand hygiene. Hand hygiene is necessary before putting on gloves and right after removing them.
Gloves should be worn as single-use and non-sterile, and disposed of quickly when there's the potential for contact with body fluids/substances and mucous membranes or non-intact skin.
Sterile gloves are only required during invasive procedures, otherwise non-sterile gloves could also be used if a aseptic non-touch technique is employed .
Change gloves between tasks and procedures on even when dealing with the same patient. Gloves should be removed immediately after a procedure and hand hygiene performed so to avoid contaminating the environment, other patients or other sites on the same patient.
ABHR shouldn't be used on gloves to decontaminate them, nor should gloves be washed with soap and water and continued to be used.
Wear an apron or gown to guard skin and stop soiling of clothing during procedures and patient care activities that are likely to get splashing or sprays of blood and body fluids, secretions and excretions, and soiling of clothing.
Select a gown or apron (i.e., long or short sleeves) that's appropriate for the activity and therefore the amount of fluid likely to be encountered. If an apron is employed , staff should ensure they're “bare-below-the-elbows”.
Remove the used gown promptly, roll it up and carefully discard appropriately.
Perform hand hygiene immediately after removal.
Wear a mask and eye protection, or a face shield to guard mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth during procedures, patient-care activities and cleaning procedures that are likely to get splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions and excretions.
Remove the mask by holding the ties only and dispose of the mask into a waste bin.
Perform hand hygiene immediately after removal. ("Blue Book standard and additional precautions", 2020)
Visiting aged care facilities during these times can put vulnerable individuals at substantial risk to develop COVID-19.
Therefore, some strict precautionary measures need to be taken, which include:
• Not being in contact with a suspected and/or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past two weeks
• Being vaccinated against the influenza virus
• Not presenting with any symptoms that would indicate a viral infection
• Short visits restricted to family members or close friends
• Visits need to be restricted to isolated spaces instead of common areas
• Visitors and staff need to keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters between themselves and the resident
• Telecommunication technology should be prioritized over physical contact
In summary, these measures are crucial to protect the resident and other people in the facility from contracting this deadly virus.
Note that the recommendations cited above are not restricted to certain healthcare careers, as everyone (e.g. physicians, nurses, technicians, Virtus care workers, visitors, family members) need to be aware of the risks and preventive measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, especially in vulnerable individuals.
With the rapid transmission of COVID-19 and its deadly complications, taking the necessary precautions could make the difference between life and death for certain people. Hopefully, this article helped you gain some perspective about the primary measures to stop COVID-19 transmission.
If you still have any questions, feel free to contact Virtus Care for more information.
Virtus Care is fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission which is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. As quoted in our CQC report: A person using the service told us, "I have the best carers in Britain. They know how to deal with my mental health issues, they support me, they calm me down."