By Emily France, Creative Content Curator | Safety Supplier @rapidfiresupplies | People Person | Theatre Type & Arts Supporter.
PPE for care workers
The last couple of years have proven extremely difficult for those living and working it the social care sector. The pandemic has made others more aware of the hardships involved with working in such an environment and the amount of determination, resilience and care required to look after people living there.
Thanks to the incredible scientists across the world the Covid-19 vaccine has been administered across the UK and given to the vulnerable as well as the staff. Those who have been vaccinated have antibodies that allow them to be protected from being seriously ill or dying. However, the vaccine cannot completely stop the virus, there is still a risk of catching it and passing it on – even for those who have been double jabbed.
This means that PPE and hygiene practices are still vital especially around people who are high risk.
Whose job is it to provide PPE?
It is the responsibility of the employer to carry out risk assessments, put safety measures/precautions in place and to provide suitable PPE for all members of staff in the workplace.
The importance of a safe system in care/nursing homes cannot be emphasised enough. There is an increase of vulnerability in residents due to age and a higher likelihood of other health conditions.
Care workers in England must comply with all applicable legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008: code of practice on the prevention and control of infections.
Is just PPE required?
No, in addition to PPE being worn by care home staff other measures should be in place to reduce the risk and control any spread of Covid-19. Below is a list of actions that should be implemented by all employees on a daily basis to ensure the safety of all persons living and working in the care homes.
PPE should be used correctly and is only effective when combined with:
- Cleaning your hands regularly and appropriately for at least 20 seconds
- Respiratory hygiene (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’) and avoiding touching your face with your hands. Sneeze or cough into the elbow crease if no tissue is available.
- Following standard infection prevention and control precautions.
- Following the correct technique for putting on and taking off PPE.
- Safe disposal of used PPE.
PPE requirements in care homes
Resident: COVID-19 positive or isolating
Duty: Within 2 metres of a resident and carrying out direct personal care (e.g., physical care).
|IIR Face Mask||YES|
|Eye protection (goggles/glasses)||YES|
Resident: Risk of contact with respiratory symptoms or body fluids (for example coughing, sneezing, spitting).
Duty: 2 metres of a resident and carrying out direct personal care (usually within the resident’s own room).
|IIR Face Mask||YES|
|Eye protection (goggles/glasses)||YES|
Resident: No symptoms and a negative test for COVID-19.
Duty: Direct personal care (usually in the resident’s own room).
|IIR Face Mask||YES|
|Eye protection (goggles/glasses)||NO|
Top picks – Disposable Gloves
Henry Schein is known for its high-quality products and these latex gloves are no different. Powder-free and made from latex, these gloves also contain moisturising aloe vera gel which keeps the skin smooth, happy and hydrated even after long periods of wear.
We know that our care workers have a variety of tasks to carry out whilst wearing gloves that require high levels of precision and dexterity. We recommend these gloves not only thanks to their excellent tactile sensitivity, but also the textured palms and fingertips giving to wearer extra grip. The Henry Schein gloves with aloe vera are coloured green to enable the user to quickly identify the type of glove.
Quickly becoming Gloveman’s second most popular glove; the stretch, blue, nitrile, powder free glove has been specifically designed for the care industry and patient handling. They are a great alternative for those who suffer with allergies to latex proteins due to special technology that has given the nitrile the same flexibility as its latex counterparts.
These gloves are again single use and are non-sterile. Thanks to the construction of the glove this Gloveman product is also safe for food preparation therefore a great choice for care homes/nursing homes to safely prepare and serve residents food.
Henry Schein’s vinyl gloves are a low-cost option for care workers. They are made from PVC, a petroleum-based film. They are less durable than latex and nitrile, and they offer limited protection against chemical or biomedical exposure.
However, vinyl gloves are commonly used in non-hazardous and low-infection environments such as in care homes where no infectious diseases are present. They are skin friendly and offer exceptional comfort to the wearer.
Top picks – Disposable Aprons
Full Body Aprons
For full body and arm protection the thumb looped protective apron from Easigown is an excellent choice. The full body design provides maximum protection and comfort to the wearer with the thumb loops ensuring the arms are fully covered during wear.
These aprons are resistant to blood, water and microbes and our top choice for those tasks that require more protection or as part of the PPE worn in the presence of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Everyday apron protection can be found with Panodyne’s disposable apron. A vest-like fit over the body to the knees makes this apron easy to put on and protects the wearer’s clothes with a simple barrier. Even with its simple design it manages to exceed the NHS’s standards for PPE aprons of 16mu with 20 mu.
Top picks – IIR Surgical Masks
Medichief is one of the leading producers of PPE, this IIR mask represents this with its three-ply layers, fluid resistance and 98% bacterial protection. Add to this list the fact that they are light and breathable with elastic that comfortably sits behind the ears, and you cannot go wrong with putting your trust in them.
Great for healthcare workers by UK Government & Public Health England, the Medichief IIR surgical mask is a top choice for those working in healthcare, business services or hospitality.
Top picks – Eye Protection
To reduce the risk of droplet spread to the eyes and mouth a face shield is a good option if the environment is low risk e.g., day to day at the care home.
Lightweight with an anti-fog coating Medichief delivers with this disposable face shield. It may best suit those who wear additional face protection such a prescription glasses as it will not interfere with them.
The Visitor Safety Glasses have been designed with a moulded-in brow guard and vented side shields, the PW30 offers excellent protection and comfort. Manufactured using tough impact resistant polycarbonate. Metal free.
Looking for more rounded eye protection? The PS21 is an indirect ventilation goggle with acetate lens material, suitable for chemical use. Superior anti-fog treatment (marked N on the lens) and ultra-soft frame ensure a comfortable wear for long working days.
LEARN MORE about safety glasses and safety goggles in our blog: Safety glasses VS safety goggles: which are best to protect your eyes? – (rapidfiresupplies.co.uk)
OR watch our eye protection video on YouTube: 10 Things You Should Know About Eye Protection – YouTube
RAPID PPE KIT
If you’re after a PPE kit just for you, you’re in the right place! We’ve done the hard work for you, our carefully selected PPE Kits are a great simple way to get your back into the new normal!
- 250ml Hand Sanitiser for keeping your hands sanitised when soap and water is not available
- Surgical Masks Type IIR Box of 50
- Protective Face Shield
- Tube of COVID-19 killing Clinell Wipes for handles, surfaces, cars etc..
- Antibacterial Wipes Pack of 70 to keep your hands fresh and virus free
- Nitrile Gloves
The role of care workers in society is one of the most important jobs there is, therefore the right PPE is extremely important to protect them and their residents no matter the circumstances.