As community infection rates for Covid-19 continue to rise, teams in all 124 Care UK homes now have three additional pieces of kit to help minimise the risk of infection.
As well as all the stringent cleaning procedures that teams in the homes follow according to a detailed pandemic action plan, these state-of-the-art pieces of technology - fogging machines, air purifiers and thermal imaging cameras - further increase the levels of safety.
The fogging machines are proving especially useful right now to help teams disinfect gifts and cards that are arriving daily in the homes but their use is timeless. The machines fill a large enclosed space like a lounge or dining room with a fine dry fog that is able to disinfect the whole area and the things in it like furniture, flooring and even decorations.
Team members in all of the homes have been carefully trained to use these machines in line with the manufacturer’s instructions to maximise their sanitation impact and make sure that the fog doesn’t inadvertently cause any problems for people’s health.
Care UK’s governance team have made it very clear that the fogging machines are a secondary line of defence after regular, carefully prescribed cleaning and sanitisation processes have been carried out.
Less familiar to a British audience, air purifiers are widely used in Europe in both domestic homes and health and social care setting and Care UK was one of the first providers to order them for all of its homes. They are used in the reception lobbies of care homes where there is the greatest number of movements of people and deliveries from outside.
These purifiers gently blow negative ions out into the surrounding environment. These ions ‘charge’ particles like dust, pollen and viruses that are floating in the air which causes them to be attracted to surfaces like floors and desks. As they fall to these surfaces, there is less chance of people breathing them in and they can be easily killed by the thorough and regular cleaning of those surfaces that home teams have to complete under Care UK’s rigorous pandemic plan processes.
Care UK has also invested in thermal imaging cameras. In the early days of the pandemic, visitors and colleagues coming into homes were checked by handheld temperature devices that someone had to hold and point at the forehead of whoever was arriving in order to record their temperature. These devices have been an important line of defence – in particular to check that colleagues arriving at work and visitors do not have a fever before they enter the home.
However, these need someone to be at the door to check every arrival so, to make better use of time for people working in the homes, Care UK has installed the very latest in thermal imaging cameras. These are able to pick out a person’s face, take their temperature and give a visual indication of whether or not they have a fever. They are situated by the main doorway and full instructions on how to use them is shown in every doorway.
As well as these three high-tech solutions, Care UK continues to make sure that homes have all the necessary PPE and disinfection and sanitising items that home teams require and managers monitor constantly to ensure that it is used meticulously. Since March, Care UK has spent almost £2 million on such items. A senior team in Care UK’s support office has worked tirelessly to ensure that there is a guaranteed supply of these essential materials available for all of the homes and that they aren’t dependent on PPE supplies promised by Government.
Jon Bicknell, the Care UK director who has overseen this team said: “We have been one of the few care home providers to be able to say that our teams have had access to the necessary PPE since the pandemic first started. That, plus our stringent infection control measures have played a key part in helping to keep people safe. Over the next few months, we will continue to scan the market to see if there are any other new devices that can help us even further in our pledge to keep people living and working in our homes as safe as possible.”