CQC report reveals successful and unsuccessful IPC practices in care homes

In some homes, IPC policies are outdated and PPE is not being used effectively, a CQC report on infection prevention and control (IPC) has revealed. However, out of the 300 care homes surveyed, most practised IPC for visitors successfully.

Some examples of general good practice:

  • An Eid dinner was organised via video conference for a person who had always shared this with their family. Staff decorated the room and played the video link through a large television.
  • Face coverings were provided which suited people’s personality and interests to encourage their use. For example, one resident who is keen on public transport was given a mask with buses on it.

Safe admission:

  • Tests were carried out to identify new resident’s COVID-19 status – some homes only accepted hospital patients with a negative test whilst others had procedures in place while they awaited test results.
  • A PPE station was placed outside new residents’ room and their clothes were labelled and left for 72 hours.

IPC for visitors:

  • For one person with a learning disability, there were special arrangements for a relative to visit, which greatly relieved his anxiety.
  • Visitors were required to complete a questionnaire or declaration and temperature checks.
  • PPE was provided when visitors did not bring their own.
  • Handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser were available and their use was prompted by staff.
  • Good signage was seen at entrance and reminders throughout home.
  • Garden visits took place to avoid visitors entering the home.
  • Some homes allowed visits at open windows in the home or open car windows, by appointment.
  • Residents were encouraged and supported to contact relatives and friends via video.

IPC policy:

  • Some IPC policies were out of date or had not been amended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Some homes had limited, or a lack of, contingency planning, such as not including preparations for autumn and winter.
  • Some homes lacked risk assessment from Black and minority ethnic groups.

Effective use of PPE:

  • PPE was not worn correctly in some homes during break times, whilst handling or serving food, and when near people they provided care for.
  • In one service, staff were not changing masks due to limited supplies.
  • PPE should be stored in a clean, dry environment to prevent contamination however, some homes lacked specific areas for donning and doffing PPE.
  • PPE was not always disposed of correctly as healthcare waste. Homes should seal and bag PPE separately to general waste.

Read the full report.

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