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Coronavirus Policy and Procedure

COVID-19 Hub – Health and Safety COVID-19
1. Purpose

1.1 To ensure that Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd remains up to date and is able to respond in the event of a member of staff, Service User or contact, contracting the virus (SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)) which results in the disease COVID-19.

1.2 To support Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd in meeting the following Key Lines of Enquiry:

Key Question
Key Lines of Enquiry
SAFE
S2: How are risks to people assessed and their safety monitored and managed so they are supported to stay safe and their freedom is respected?
SAFE
S3: How does the service make sure that there are sufficient numbers of suitable staff to support people to stay safe and meet their needs?
SAFE
S5: How well are people protected by the prevention and control of infection?
WELL-LED
W5: How does the service work in partnership with other agencies?

1.3 To meet the legal requirements of the regulated activities that Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd is registered to provide:

  • The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020;
  • Civil Contingencies Act 2004;
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002;
  • Equality Act 2010;
  • Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Registration and Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 and
  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
2. Scope

2.1 The following roles may be affected by this policy:

  • All Staff
  • Senior Management

2.2 The following Service Users may be affected by this policy:

  • Service Users

2.3 The following stakeholders may be affected by this policy:

  • Family
  • Commissioners
  • External health Professionals
  • Local Authority
  • NHS
3. Objectives

3.1 To ensure that safe, effective procedures are in place with staff and Service Users having information in an accessible format.

3.2 As the spread of the virus is resulting in response requirements changing daily, Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that it stays up to date with reliable sources of information and has the flexibility to respond

4. Policy

4.1 Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd recognises that the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) which results in the disease COVID-19 is a fast-moving situation. The WHO has stated that this is now a pandemic. As care providers, ensuring robust infection control and business continuity plans form part of preparing business at Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd for any events that can cause disruption to the normal business.

4.2 Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that staff are aware and understand the importance of pandemic preparedness and will carry out preparations by following the checklist in the Pandemic Policy and Procedure at Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd understands that business continuity planning involves all aspects of the business and to be effective Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd must work with their partners, suppliers and commissioners to ensure that a safe and effective service can be maintained.

4.3 Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd understands that they have a responsibility for ensuring that staff follow good infection control and prevention techniques and that they support Service Users with this too. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that staff have access to reliable information to reduce anxiety and dispel any myths and inaccurate information that may cause worry or distress to staff, Service Users or the wider public.

5. Procedure

5.1 Pandemic Policy

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd recognises that the WHO has declared COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd however, will ensure that it reviews the Pandemic Policy and Procedure and will complete the checklist to ensure that the business is prepared and that robust business continuity plans are in place.

5.2 Reducing the Risk of Contracting or Spreading the Virus

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that staff, when not at work, follow the WHO and Public Health England Advice to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and the risk of spreading it. They must also support Service Users to follow the government requirements and remind them that failure to follow this can result in a fine. The following procedures must be followed;
You can only leave your home:

  • To shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • To do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • For any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • To travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary Further measures:
  • Wash your hands regularly and properly for at least 20 seconds (2 verses of Happy Birthday) by using soap and running water
  • Use hand sanitiser when it is not possible to wash hands with soap and water. Hand sanitiser must contain 60% alcohol to be effective
  • Maintain at least 2 metres (6 foot) distance between yourself and anyone. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick
  • Practice respiratory hygiene. Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands, or use hand sanitiser if you do not have immediate access to soap and running water. Droplets spread virus. By following good hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19
  • If you have a fever (37.8 degrees, a new/persistent cough) you must self isolate for 7 days. The NHS advice must be followed below;
    • If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started
    • If you live with someone who has symptoms, you will need to stay at home for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear
    • If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms
    • If you get symptoms, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you are at home for longer than 14 days
    • If you do not get symptoms, you can stop staying at home after 14 days

Social Distancing
Follow the Government’s requirements dated March 23rd 2020 for 3 weeks. Everyone must comply with these requirements

5.3 Handwashing

Staff should wash their hands:

  • Before leaving home
  • On arrival at work
  • After using the toilet
  • After touching pets
  • After breaks and sporting activities
  • Before food preparation
  • After using public transport
  • Before eating any food, including snacks
  • Before leaving work
  • On arrival at home

5.4 Confidentiality

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will follow confidentiality and GDPR policies and procedures to ensure that the details of staff involved in caring for Service Users with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is kept confidential. Employees should also respect each other’s confidentially and take care not to inadvertently share information when using social media.

Where staff are suspected or confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, their personal details should be treated as confidential, as they would be for any other Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd Service User.

5.5 Safe Staffing

In the event of an outbreak of COVID-19, where staff are moved from other areas to support work on COVID-19, assessments should be made on the ability to continue to deliver safe and effective care in the services affected. Steps should be taken to mitigate any risks resulting from staff moving to other areas. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will as part of pandemic preparedness assess whether any staff need additional training, support or require a DBS check.

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd must use tools to report capacity for bed vacancies (such as the Capacity Tracker or Care Pulse) to support system resilience where applicable as outlined in COVID-19: Guidance on Residential Care Provision.

5.6 Reducing the Risk of Stigmatization

Stigma occurs when people negatively associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a specific population. In the case of COVID-19, there are an increasing number of reports of public stigmatization against people from areas affected by the epidemic, this means that people are being labelled, stereotyped, separated, and/or experience loss of status and discrimination because of a potential negative affiliation with the disease. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that staff understand the importance of preventing and addressing social stigma by making sure facts are available to staff
and Service Users.

5.7 Actions if a Service User Meets the Criteria and Displays Symptoms

If a Service User complains of symptoms staff must make sure;

  • The Service User is safe and withdraw from the room
  • They immediately wash their hands and avoid touching the face, nose, mouth or eyes
  • They contact 111 for advice or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk)
  • They contact Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd as soon as possible and advise of the situation. This must be a high priority
  • They do not attend any other Service Users, visit their GP or travel in the community until advice is sought
  • Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, staff should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag then throw the tissue in the bin. If they do not have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow
  • If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available. This will apply only to the period of time while waiting for transport to hospital

5.8 Action if a Member of Staff Reports Symptoms

  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that the member of staff self-isolates for 7 days
  • If the member of staff has no symptoms they can return to work on day 8
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd must contact Cheltenham and the Local Health Protection Team for advice including whether the premises need to close and other staff self-isolate
  • Advice will be given to the member of staff if they need to self-isolate and what action will need to take place for any Service Users that they may have had contact with;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd must ensure that confidentiality is maintained and that records are held in line with Data Protection Act requirements;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd should follow their Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure and ensure that it follows government guidance which states that if an employee or worker has to self-isolate, they should receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will need to put into action the business continuity plan and liaise with Cheltenham and the CQC if there are concerns about staffing.

5.9 Isolation Notes Online

Isolation Notes will provide Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

As isolation notes can be obtained without contacting a doctor, this will reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and prevent people needing to leave their homes.

For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they do not need any evidence for Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd. After that, Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.

5.10 Cleaning the Office and Workplace Where There are Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will follow Public Health England Guidance on Cleaning. Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:

  • All surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids;
  • All potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones;
  • Clothing and linen used by the person should be set aside pending assessment of the person by a healthcare professional.

5.11 Rubbish Disposal Including Tissues

  • All waste that has been in contact with the individual with symptoms, including used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids, must be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This must be put aside for at least 72 hours before being disposed of as normal.

5.12 Raising Concerns

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd has effective procedures in place to allow staff to raise any concerns in relation to equipment, policies and processes for managing COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. All staff must be aware of the Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure at Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd and be able to raise concerns without any fear and receive timely feedback on their concerns.

5.13 Working from Home
Where staff at Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd are able to work from home, and Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd has agreed to the arrangement Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd has the following expectations;

  • Staff can work independently and on their own initiative;
  • Staff are able to motivate themselves;
  • Complete agreed work within set deadlines;
  • Staff can manage their workload effectively;
  • Staff can cope well under any new pressure posed by working at home;
  • Staff will adopt healthy work from home practices which includes compliance with Health and Safety;
  • Staff will maintain contact with Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd and colleagues with whom they would usually interact with;
  • Confidentiality will be maintained in line with the Data Protection Act
  • Any concerns will be raised immediately with Mr Last Sibanda;
  • Meeting with Service Users or external organisations will not take place with the employees at home unless teleconferencing facilities are used.

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd understands during the coronavirus outbreak, that where the employee’s role makes home working feasible, working from home will be supported. The decision to temporarily allow home working is not a contractual change.

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will investigate mechanisms to communicate effectively with staff who work from home. The free software made available by Microsoft Teams, to support video conferencing and calls over wifi is an option that can be considered.

5.14 Working from Home – Health and Safety Considerations

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd has a duty of care for all their employees, and the requirements of the health and safety legislation apply to homeworkers. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd is responsible for carrying out a risk assessment to check whether the proposed home workplace’s ventilation, temperature, lighting, space, chair, desk and computer, or any kind of workstation, and floor are suitable for the tasks the homeworker will be carrying out.

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd is responsible for the equipment it supplies, but it is the employee’s responsibility to rectify any flaws in the home highlighted by the assessment. Once the home workplace has passed the assessment, it is the employee who is responsible for keeping it that way. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will refer to the Home Working Policy and Procedure.

5.15 Visitors
The impact of the coronavirus is far greater for people with underlying health conditions and who are elderly. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will monitor the changing situation. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will display information posters and advise anyone that is unwell to stay away. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that all visitors document their names and contact phone numbers should contact tracing be required.

Where restrictions on visitors are made, Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will ensure that risk assessments are in place, best interest decisions are recorded and the least restrictive option are taken and in human rights terms, this factors in the services and support supplied to Service Users by their visitors.

Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will review any Service User who have last powers of attorney in place and ensure that any advance decisions are recorded.

5.16 Shielding At Risk Groups

The Government advised on 21st March that those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) must be shielded and protected. The full Public Health England guidance can be read here. Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. This means that those who are extremely vulnerable should not leave their homes, and within their homes should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household.

  1. Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough;
    2. Do not leave your house;
    3. Do not attend any gatherings;
    4. Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact;
    5. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, Internet, and social media.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients;
  • People with specific cancers;
  • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer;
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment;
  • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer;
  • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors;
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs;
  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD;
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell);
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection;
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

The NHS in England is directly contacting people with these conditions to provide further advice. This advice will be in place for 12 weeks.

5.17 Supporting Hospital Discharge

Mr Last Sibanda will follow the COVID-19 discharge guidance and will ensure that communication channels remain open.

6. Definitions

6.1 Pandemic

  • A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease COVID-19 was characterised as a Pandemic on 11th March 2020

6.2 World Health Organisation (WHO)

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is concerned with world public health

6.3 COVID-19

  • Novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China. The virus was named severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called COVID- 19

6.4 Outbreak

  • A disease outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases in excess of normal expectancy. The number of cases varies according to the disease-causing agent, and the size and type of previous and existing exposure to the agent.

6.5 Social Stigma

  • Social stigma in the context of health is the negative association between a person or group of people who share certain characteristics and a specific disease. In an outbreak, this may mean people are labelled, stereotyped, discriminated against, treated separately, and/or experience loss of status because of a perceived link with a disease. Such treatment can negatively affect those with the disease, as well as their caregivers, family, friends and communities. People who do not have the disease but share other characteristics with this group may also suffer from stigma. The current COVID-19 outbreak has provoked social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against people of certain ethnic backgrounds as well as anyone perceived to have been in contact with the virus

6.6 The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020

  • The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 was put in place with immediate effect on 25th February to impose restrictions on any individual considered by health professionals to be at risk of spreading the virus;
  • The regulations apply to any individuals seeking to leave supported isolation before the current quarantine period of 14 days is complete. It will also apply to future cases during the current coronavirus incident where an individual who may be infected or contaminated could present a risk to public health.

6.7 Social Distancing

  • Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)

6.8 Health and Social Care Key Workers

  • This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment
Key Facts – Professionals

Professionals providing this service should be aware of the following:

  • The current understanding is that the virus does not survive on surfaces for longer than 72 hours. Regular cleaning of frequently touched hard surfaces and hands will therefore help to reduce the risk of infection;
  • Washing your hands often, with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available – this is particularly important after taking public transport;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd must make sure they have the facts about the new coronavirus or the disease COVID-19 from a reliable source. Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care are 2 examples. Staff should read the fact sheet in the Forms section for more information;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd must have an up to date business continuity plan in place. The Pandemic Policy and Procedure has a checklist to help plan for an outbreak of a disease like COVID-19;
  • Its important that Service Users are made aware of how they can help limit the spread of COVID-19 and that they understand the signs and symptoms of the disease;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd will need to work closely with Cheltenham, health providers, suppliers and other agencies to ensure that there is continuity and consistency of care
Key Facts – People affected by the service

People affected by this service should be aware of the following:

  • A coronavirus is a type of virus. Coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. This new virus is called SARS coronavirus-2. The disease it causes is called COVID-19;
  • There is no vaccine at the moment for this virus. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water will help prevent the spread of the disease. Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Its ok to feel worried or anxious. Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd has plans in place to make sure you will get the care that you need
Further Reading

As well as the information in the ‘underpinning knowledge’ section of the review sheet we recommend that you add to your understanding in this policy area by considering the following materials:

  1. CQC Responding to Coronavirus
  2. Handwashing and Hand Sanitiser fact sheet
  3. Handwashing Video
  4. Public Health England Posters
  5. Care Provider Alliance – Multiple Resources
Outstanding Practice

To be ‘ outstanding ’ in this policy area you could provide evidence that:

  • The wide understanding of the policy is enabled by proactive use of the QCS App;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd has robust infection control policies and procedures in place and staff understand the importance of good hand hygiene, how to use personal protective equipment appropriately and they share their knowledge with Service Users appropriately;
  • Staff have accurate and up-to-date information and Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd is able to respond quickly and safely to a fast-changing situation;
  • Expeditions Living Pvt Ltd has shared its pandemic and business continuity plan and everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are
Forms

The following forms are included as part of this policy:

Title of Form
When would the form be used?
Created by
COVID-19 Fact Sheet V2.0 – Service Users & Staff – HS15
To provide information for staff and service users
QCS
COVID-19 Factsheet – HS15
To provide information to managers during the pandemic
QCS
COVID-19 Easy Read – HS15
To provide information in an accessible format
QCS
Key Worker Letter – HS15
To ensure that Key Workers are able to travel to work freely and can access schooling if required for their children
QCS
Staying at Home – HS15
To provide accessible information
QCS