Ten steps for care homes to get ready for the second wave of COVID
Care homes have seen the most devastating effect of COVID in the UK and across Europe. COVID second wave is inevitable.
Although learned it in a hard way, the impact of COVID for the second wave should be less severe.
The number of COVID cases diagnosed in one day rose to nearly 3000 on 6th September, since May 2020. But the reassuring factor is that the death rate is comparatively low.
It is predicted that the second wave would be in autumn than in the middle of the winter. The cold climate will be increasing the risk of infection for elderly clients.
Ten things you should do now to get ready for a second wave.
- Forcast your staffing situation for the winter. Arrive at some staffing stability for the next few months. Start recruiting and stop relying on the agency. If ever you are using an agency, have a contract with them to place people with you continuously.
- Stock PPE to last several months. (minimum of three months). If you are looking for a bulk purchase, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. We will find the best prices for you. Use our FREE Care Inventory Manager (CIM) to manage your stock remotely. If the demand goes up, the prices are likely to sore again. During winter we will have to compete with all other western countries for accessing PPE from East Asia. Already, the production of gloves is not meeting the demand.
- Revise your COVID protocols, train staff and observe their practice. Be aggressive in ensuring everyone within your business follows the protocols—literally no exception to anyone.
- Identifying the first case. COVID is going to be here for the next one or two years. The new norm is the norm for several years from now on. You can have a disastrous effect if there is any delay in finding the first case. Taking vitals and clinical assessments for all your residents should be a mandatory routine each morning. Remember not to miss the first case, staff or the residents.
- Monitor cases in your local area. Add this to your daily routine. You should be able to pull this information from local CCG, NHS or Local authority website. Update your staff the variation in cases in your area and what precautions need to be taken. Ensure you take a proactive approach to implement flue vaccines and pneumonia vaccines for residents and staff.
- Testing, testing and testing. There is no argument that testing is a significant administrative burden. The process is still not efficient and effective even after several reiterations. But we have no alternatives. Add an extra staff on the testing day, as it may be a strain on the Manager to carry out testing single-handedly.
- Cash flow forecast. Usually, the cash flow is somewhat similar each month for a care business. It is highly likely that this would vary each month from now on. If you are already a cash strapped care home, weekly monitoring is essential. Outsource your bookkeeping if you are not able to handle it yourself.
- Admissions - There is no point in saying 'NO' to admissions as COVID is a new norm from now on. Revise your strategies on how you can make this happen without any delays but by investing in robust IPC protocols. It may be viable to have an extra cleaner on duty and admit more residents.
- Compliance - Regardless of any crisis, meeting HSE, CQC and employment regulations remains a priority all the time. COVID is not a reason for having complacency in meeting regulations for operating your care business.
- Leadership - Leadership during a crisis, is a different skillset. Check what is going well and what is not going well. A lousy culture in your care home is a reason to increase the vulnerability in your care business during this challenging time. Also, don't forget to appreciate your hardworking managers and staff who goes over and beyond to keep people safe. Sometimes, when our mind is clouded, it is easy to forget good things happening around us. Keep the team morale positive, say thank you to your staff. Because they are your most significant asset. A care home is just a building without people in it. It is the people you employ, make your care home great.
You might need a bulletproof mock inspection now than ever. Arrange our expert Issac Theophilos, to visit your care home and review your systems and processes to get ready for the second wave.