Guidance of PPE in care homes – FAQs

Guidance of PPE in care homes – Frequently Asked Questions

The government recently outlined new advice for the use of PPE in care homes. You can read through some of the details on the guidance here.

Part of the guidance includes frequently asked questions and the answers from Public Health England. Below are the FAQs specifically relating to the guidance of PPE in care homes.

Q: Is PPE required in my care home when none of our residents have symptoms of COVID-19?

A: Yes. As there is sustained transmission of COVID-19, we recommend you use PPE regardless of whether residents in your care home have symptoms of COVID-19 or not. Section 1 provides recommendations on what PPE is required and when.

Q: Why is PPE needed for personal care of all residents and not just when caring for residents with symptoms of COVID-19?

A: Where COVID-19 is circulating in the community at high rates and symptoms can differ from person to person, it is not always obvious who might be affected by the virus and be infectious to others. Older people might only have minimal symptoms of respiratory infection and a high proportion of individuals with COVID-19 do not display any symptoms at all. You need to take precautions to both protect your own health and prevent passing on infection to the vulnerable people you care for during your work.

Q: Why is a recommendation now being made for all care home staff to wear a surgical mask?

A: The recommendations have been made for all staff to help prevent the spread of infection within the care home. Evidence has shown that those infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no symptoms and might pass on the virus to others without being aware of it, so it is important we take steps to reduce the risk of this happening. Wearing a face mask reduces the risk of passing on the virus to other staff either directly e.g. by coughing, or indirectly via hands after touching the mouth or nose and then touching surfaces such as door handles which will then be touched by others.

Q: What should we do if we have a supply shortage of PPE and we are unable to follow this guidance?

A: You should inform your manager if you are concerned about shortage of PPE. Advice on strategies for optimising the use of PPE and consideration for the re-use of PPE when in short supply may be found here.

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