Although this virus is commonly seen across the world, the type that has been identified in China is a new version – Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) – and the full extent of its impact around the world is still being researched now.
However, as the number of Coronavirus cases increases, guidance for what to do to avoid it and best practice when working with vulnerable people has begun to be circulated more often. A lot of the best practice can be linked easily with our Health and Social Care course, as infection control is an integral part of both the course and real life in the healthcare sector.
If you work in a care home, the Department of Health has suggested there is no need to do anything differently to how you are currently doing things, however it is suggested that personal hygiene is kept at top level – especially if you have to use public transport to get to work as many people in care homes will be more vulnerable to the disease. You can see some guidance for primary care providers on the government website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wn-cov-guidance-for-primary-care/wn-cov-interim-guidance-for-primary-care
Care providers and workers should also read the advice and guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care for the public on coronavirus, which can be found here, on symptoms of the virus and the importance of staying at home and seeking medical advice at the soonest opportunity.
One of the actions you can take to help avoid catching or spreading coronavirus is to make sure you wash your hands with soap and water often and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have produced 10 steps to effective hand washing. Details of expert RCN clinical guidance and additional RCN advice and resources can be found on the RCN website infection prevention and control pages.
The NHS website has also given some handy tips on how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/):
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
If you’re worried at all about the coronavirus, or even have any questions, the DfE has launched a helpline which you can call or email for information (telephone helpline open from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Alternatively, if you are worried you may have contracted Coronavirus you can call 111 and they will be able to help you – do not go to your GP or A&E as this may lead to the spread of the infection.