Helping each other stay safe after the easing of lockdown restrictions
We are all looking forward to the easing of lockdown restrictions - but it will be some time before things are completely back to normal. We still need to think about how to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19… at least for a little while yet.
Luckily, there are some simple hygiene measures that we can take to help keep ourselves and others safe.
These will help protect us against a range of infections including COVID-19:
- Stay home if we have symptoms (and book a test through 119)
- Continue to wash or gel our hands regularly
- Catch sneezes in tissues and dispose of them straight away
- Cover our mouths when we cough – a good idea is to cough into the crook of the arm
- Spending time outdoors and in fresh air
- Not standing too close to others (keep 2 metre distance where possible)
- Consider using a face mask or covering when on transport or indoors or when asked to
- Importantly, if you haven’t done so already please take up the offer of vaccination
What you can do to help health and social care workers coming into your home
The good news is that if we follow the simple advice above, then we have already reduced our risk of catching or spreading the virus to everyone including health and social care workers.
There has been no change in the guidance for health and care workers – for example, they will continue to wear masks and follow all measures necessary when in your home to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
There are some things that you can do too:
- Before they come into your home, let them know if you have tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19…
- … or if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms
- Open your windows at least from time to time and especially when you have visitors
- Wear a mask or face covering if you are asked to
- Keep a safe distance (2 metres if possible)
- If clinical waste is generated in your home, you will be advised on how to handle and store this safely
Aerosol Generating Procedures
Some of you may be supported by health and care staff carrying out a range of higher risk activities known as Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs). A typical example is when helping you to care for someone on a ventilator. They will continue to need to wear a higher level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The need for this protection has not gone away or been reduced.
- Be guided by the person leading on the procedure
- Where possible AGPs should be carried out in a room with the doors shut…
- … but open the windows and keep them open for a while afterwards
- Reduce the number of people needed in the room to the safe minimum
- Follow advice on the safe disposal waste generated from AGPs
Remember wearing this extra protection can be hot and tiring – especially in warm weather or homes. To work safely, expect your care team to plan for extra breaks.
We need health and social care workers to remain safe and healthy – for their own personal health,
for the health of their family, your family and so that they can continue to support others.