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Coronavirus

Up to date Government guidance and FAQs on the Coronavirus from Superior Healthcare

Superior Healthcare are here to help

This is Superior Healthcare’s dedicated page on coronavirus, where you can find up to date Government guidance, restrictions and advice on the pandemic. This page also includes expert knowledge on how to care for someone showing symptoms of Coronavirus and when to seek medical help.

If you need help or want further advice please do use the contact form below and get in touch. You don’t have to be one of our clients or a staff member…we want to help.

If you are a nurse or experienced carer and want to find out more about Superior Healthcare we would love to hear from you. Discover the benefits of working for a leading healthcare provider.

Coronavirus FAQs

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus disease  is an infectious disease caused by the newly discovered virus COVID-19.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However some people will experience a serious illness and some will die from the disease. Although the disease can kill anyone, certain individuals are most at risk, including the elderly, and those with underlying medical problems such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Cancer

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.

 

(Source: WHO)

What are the current Government restrictions on Coronavirus?

Main restrictions on lockdown

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

As was already the case, in terms of seeing friends and family, you can:

  • meet in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
  • continue to meet outdoors in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household

It remains the case that you should not:

  • socialise indoors in groups of more than two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from exclusively from two households or support bubbles
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)

You should only be socialising in groups of up to two households indoors and outdoors or or up to six people from different households outdoors.

For more information on what you can and can’t do see the government guidance page

For vulnerable individuals the restrictions are slightly different. You can find these here.

How does the NHS test and trace service work?

The NHS has launched its ‘Test and Trace’ service which will help trace people who have been in close recent contact with anyone testing positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notify them to self-isolate.

It’s hoped this service will help return life to normal more quickly, whilst still isolating new infections.

You don’t need to sign up to anything or download an app. But it is important you understand the updated process for isolating and testing and that you could now be contacted by the NHS and asked to self-isolate if they believe you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive to the virus.

How does it work?

Part 1- for someone with symptoms of coronavirus
  1. Isolate. As soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms
  2. Test. Order a test immediately at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access. Testing is now available to all.
  3. Results. If your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 7-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate
  4. Share contacts. If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited.
Part 2 – if you are contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

 

  1. Alert. You will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Under-18s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue
  2. Isolate. You will be told to begin self-isolation for 14 days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive. It’s really important to do this even if you don’t feel unwell because, if you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14 days. Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home
  3. Test if needed. If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 14 days and you must book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive, you must continue to stay at home for at least 7 days and we will get in touch to ask about your contacts since they must self-isolate. If your test is negative, you must still complete your 14-day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet.

To find out more visit the NHS site on test and trace here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youre-contacted-after-testing-positive-for-coronavirus/

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The official symptoms of coronavirus are as follows:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

For more information, read the further guidance on symptoms.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you must self-isolate straight away for 7 days – or longer if you still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste.

If you live in the same household as someone with coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate straight away for 14 days.

Can I be tested for Covid-19?

Testing is now available to anyone in England showing symptoms of coronavirus.

To clarify, this is a test to see if you currently have the virus and not if you’ve already had it. This means you should only go for testing if you are currently showing symptoms of Coronavirus:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Anosmia – the loss of, or change in, your normal smell and taste.

Testing should ideally be done at the optimum time, within 3 days of developing symptoms.

You can book a test online here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/

Alternatively, if you have no Internet connection you can call 119 to book.

What's the difference between staying at home and self-isolation?

Although lockdown measures across the UK are beginning to be lifted, it’s still very important to continue to follow the guidance on self-isolation.

Self isolating means the following:

  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you need to self-isolate for 7 days. However mild, stay at home and do not leave your house at all.
  • If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • Day 1 of symptoms is the first day of self-isolation within that 14 day period, even if other symptoms develop in other individuals within that 14 day period.
  • Ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
  • Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
  • Sleep alone, if that is possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
  • You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact  NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

How can I treat COVID-19 symptoms?

NICE have released guidance on how to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 and when you need to go to hospital:

Advice for adults with a cough

  • Teaspoon of honey
  • Fever – take Paracetamol not honey
  • Fever tends to appear x5 days after exposure
  • Breathing techniques recommended
  • If short of breath – keep room cool and windows open – do not use a fan as this can spread infection
  • Encouraging relaxation and breathing techniques and changing body positioning
  • Trial of oxygen if available

To hospitalise? IF:

  • severe shortness of breath at rest or difficulty breathing
  • coughing up blood
  • blue lips or face
  • feeling cold and clammy with pale or mottled skin
  • collapse or fainting (syncope)
  • new confusion
  • becoming difficult to rouse
  • little or no urine output.

If unsure call NHS 111, if it’s an emergency call 999.

Techniques to help manage breathlessness

Controlled breathing techniques include positioning, pursed-lip breathing, breathing exercises and coordinated breathing training.

In pursed-lip breathing, people inhale through their nose for several seconds with their mouth closed, then exhale slowly through pursed lips for 4 to 6 seconds. This can help to relieve the perception of breathlessness during exercise or when it is triggered.

Relaxing and dropping the shoulders reduces the ‘hunched’ posture that comes with anxiety.

Sitting upright increases peak ventilation and reduces airway obstruction.

Leaning forward with arms bracing a chair or knees and the upper body supported has been shown to improve ventilatory capacity.

Breathing retraining aims to help the person regain a sense of control and improve respiratory muscle strength. Physiotherapists and clinical nurse specialists can help patients learn how to do this (bearing in mind that this support may need to be done remotely).

 

Guidelines on managing suspected pneumonia

The guidance says COVID-19 viral pneumonia is more likely if you:

  • present with a history of typical COVID-19 symptoms for about a week
  • have severe muscle pain (myalgia)
  • have loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
  • are breathless but have no pleuritic pain
  • have a history of exposure to known or suspected COVID-19, such as a household or workplace contact.

 

Hospital admission

When considering hospital admission, you should be aware of the benefits, including access to improved diagnostic testing and respiratory support, but also the risks and disadvantages, including spreading or catching COVID-19 and loss of contact with your family.

What's the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) to wear?

It is important to follow the guidance from Government on PPE. Although influenced by the World Health Organisation, we follow specific instructions from Public Health England.

The latest guidelines are available in the UK government’s infection prevention and control guidance.

You can download a copy of our Recommended PPE PDF at the bottom of this page, which follows current guidance from Public Health England and NHS.

I am concerned that the PPE in my workplace is insufficient. What should I do?

Organisations must have effective procedures in place to allow nurses and healthcare staff to raise any concerns in relation to equipment, policies and processes for managing COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.

If you work with Superior Healthcare in our complex care division we are responsible for providing all your PPE and we currently have sufficient stocks of all necessary kit.

If you work in the Superior Healthcare’s agency division, then it is the responsibility of the organisations we send you to, to provide PPE. However, we work closely with our clients to ensure they are doing everything possible to provide you with the correct PPE. We are also helping where we can to support both our clients and our staff with additional PPE, if the organisation is struggling to provide PPE itself.

Should I accept a donation of home-made PPE?

Personal protective equipment for use in health and care settings must meet specified health and safety standards included within the product specifications for examination gloves, gowns, face masks and eye protection.

This is to ensure reliable and effective protection against infection, and ensure PPE is fit for purpose. Any personal protective equipment made by hand, for example cotton face masks, will not provide the level of protection required against COVID-19.

Healthcare workers must not accept any PPE hand made donations. Superior Healthcare will provide you with high standard personal protective equipment meeting health and safety standards.

Anyone wishing to donate equipment to the health service as part of the COVID-19 response should visit the government website.

 

How do I correctly put on and remove PPE?

It’s essential to wear the correct PPE but it’s just as important to put on and remove it in a safe way, in order to minimise contamination and spread of the virus. Here is our helpful guide on the correct procedure in putting on and removing your PPE.

You can also download and print a copy of PDFs for both putting on and removing PPE, which can be found at the bottom of this page under resources.

If I'm a professional carer, what do I do if someone I provide care for develops COVID-19 symptoms?

As you are aware, the NHS is being stretched like it’s never been before and to prevent further burden on hospitals we must do everything we can to keep the people we care for safe and well at home.

If someone you care for develops symptoms of COVID-19 the Government are instructing us to continue to provide care for them, unless their condition worsens and they need medical attention. You must minimise the risk of transmission through safe working practices.

If the individual does develop symptoms of Coronavirus please do the following:

  • Use PPE for activities that bring you into close personal contact with them. Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
  • New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.

Safe working practices include:

  • Take the person’s temperature at least once a day, unless it is raised in which case more frequently.
  • Minimise contact with the person as much as possible.
  • When contact has to be made, please ensure you are wearing the correct PPE.
  • PPE should be put on and removed in an order that minimises the potential for self-contamination
  • The order for PPE removal is gloves, hand hygiene, apron or gown, eye protection, hand hygiene, surgical face mask or FFP3 respirator, hand hygiene.

 

To treat someone showing symptoms of COVID-19, please see the question ‘How can I treat COVID-19 symptoms’

Government guidance for carers who’s clients/family members start to develop coronavirus symptoms, can be found here.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-home-care-provision

 

At what point should I seek medical assistance if I'm showing COVID-19 symptoms?

The main reason people need hospital treatment is difficulty breathing.

the NHS 111 website will guide you through what you need to do:

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

If you are so breathless that you are unable to speak more than a few words then you will be told to call 999 as this is a medical emergency.

If you become so ill that you’ve stopped doing all of your usual daily activities then the website will advise speaking to a nurse by dialling NHS 111.

How can I help stop infection spreading?

Do:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • 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 immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Although washing our hands is a practice we’re all used too, we don’t often do it as effectively as we should. For safe and effective hand washing please download our hand washing document at the bottom of this page.

Don’t:

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Leave your house if you’re showing any of the symptoms of Coronavirus

 

Is it safe to go to hospital if I don't have Coronavirus?

The NHS is urging people to not let Coronavirus prevent you from going to hospital if you need medical attention.

They have released some guidance, particularly for parents, on when you should seek medical help, which you can download at the bottom of this page. It has been felt parents have been fearful of the risks of bringing their child into hospital at this time but it’s important they are seen to and to not put off attending.

If you are a client of Superior Healthcare and are unsure, please just call us. We’re always at the end of the phone for you.

What do I do if I'm worried about my mental health?

The coronavirus outbreak is having an impact on everyone’s daily lives, as the government and the NHS take necessary steps to manage the outbreak, reduce transmission and treat those who need medical attention.

During this time, you may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. Everyone reacts differently to events and changes in the way that we think, feel and behave vary between different people and over time. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get further support if you need it.

For more guidance on looking after your mental wellbeing see the government’s guidance on mental health during Covid-19:

Government guidance to mental health during Covid-19

It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. But if you are struggling to cope and find it difficult to talk to family and friends, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines.

Can I travel abroad during Covid-19?

For most of us in the UK, travelling abroad is not an option. However there are some circumstances where this is permitted, for example, for repatriation and returning to your home country.

Any form of travel abroad is widely discouraged and anyone entering the UK after the 8th June will have to go into quarantine for two weeks.

If you are an employee of Superior Healthcare and wish to return to work having travelled abroad, we have a strict policy in place which must be followed:

Whilst the FCO advise against all but essential travel, it is Superior Healthcare’s policy that anyone who leaves the country and returns / who is currently overseas and plans to return, will need to undertake a 14 day quarantine period .  We will organise a test on day 10 of the quarantine period so that by the time that the quarantine period has ended, we will also have a negative test result following a window of opportunity for the virus to incubate. 

The reason for this policy is that we are responsible for the care of vulnerable individuals and it is our duty to protect and shield them as much as possible. As such we have to be certain that any staff returning to the country are negative to the virus before we can allow them to return to work.

If you’re an employee of Superior healthcare and have any concerns please contact the office in the usual way and we can help you.

Further guidance on travelling abroad can be found on the government’s coronavirus website here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

 

 

 

Resources

Recommended PPE for COVID-19

Reference poster from Public Health England and the NHS, detailing correct PPE to use for every situation.

Download now

Putting on PPE

The correct procedure for safely putting on PPE

Download now

Removing PPE

The correct procedure for safely removing PPE

Download now

RCN's Hand Washing Guidance

10 steps to effective hand washing from the Royal College of Nursing.

Download now

NHS guidance on going to hospital during COVID-19

Download now

Further information and Government guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Get in touch

To find our more or to discuss your needs on an informal basis please call 01227 771122 or fill out the form below and a member of the Superior Healthcare team will get back to you.