From the 1st of April 2021, the government withdrew shielding advice for clinically vulnerable people. This means that you and your family no longer need to stay at home to protect yourself and can start adding some normality to your daily life.
Visits in the home for essential health and social care has always been advised to continue. We understand you chose to pause your care and support package because that was what felt right and safe for you at the time.
After months of shielding, we understand the concept of life returning to normality can be worrying for you and your family. We are here to help.
Now the vaccination rollout is in process and things have begun to settle a little, it might be time to think about transitioning out of shielding so you can restart your care package and benefit from our support again.
Measures that keep your child or young person safe
In order to minimise COVID-19 risks, we’ve introduced several measures as outlined by government. We’ve also added additional company precautions to ensure the safety of your child or young person is always prioritised. This includes:
Enhanced PPE provision
All staff members are provided with full COVID-19 appropriate PPE. This includes the use of FFP3 valve masks, disposable gloves/aprons, surgical masks, protective face shields/visors, zip up suits and full arm gowns as appropriate.
We’ve also completed FIT Testing with around 100 healthcare assistants and nurses so they can use more protective PPE. This is for packages where children and young people require regular suctioning, invasive and non-invasive mechanical ventilation, tracheostomy care or where exposure to bodily fluid is possible.
Staff are compliant with these measures and we have a good supply to continue providing PPE for as long as necessary.
We provide weekly PCR tests for all staff to ensure they are free from COVID-19 infection. This means we complete over 800 PCR tests per month! This test is more accurate than lateral flow tests and produces a result within 24-48 hours.
All tests are recorded, documented and sent to the CQC for assurance that healthcare assistants and nurses are compliant with this safety measure.
All staff have access to the vaccines that have been approved by the government. In having the vaccine, staff have a reduced chance of contracting and spreading the virus.
We are providing healthcare assistants and nurses with additional PPE for use when travelling on public transport and this is disposed of upon shift commencement.
We’ve also assisted in arranging alternative transport in some instances so staff can avoid travelling at peak times and prevent unnecessary exposure when commuting.
We provide hand gel sanitiser, hand wash and hand towels for healthcare assistants and nurses to use in the home.
We have high expectations when it comes to hygiene and staff are expected to adhere to all guidelines we put in place.
COVID-19 risk assessments
Full COVID-19 risk assessments are available for each child or young person. This looks at each individual, family dynamics and the household in relation to the potential risk of transmission and infection control.
We work with you to develop robust contingency plans. This details all eventualities around service breakdown, continuity of care and how we will support you if someone involved in your child or young person’s care becomes infected.
The first steps in restarting your child or young person’s package of care after shielding can always feel the hardest. It’s understandable to feel worried, even when the risks are low.
As your provider, we are here to help. There are a few things we can do to help you transition out of shielding and make the whole experience feel more comfortable and safe.
1. Contact your clinical nurse manager
Speak to your clinical nurse manager about your concerns about transitioning out of shielding, your worries around risks, and how you’re feeling.
We can schedule regular contact meetings and welfare checks initially to support and advise as well as work with you to develop a plan of action that works for you and your family.
Remember, you are not alone, we will do all we can to help.
2. Phased returns
We know that small changes make a big difference, so we can support you by facilitating a phased return to care and support from shielding if needed on a case by case basis.
Dependent on your funding and care plan we could look at introducing one or two visits a week at first or offer support over less days with longer hours to reduce staff changeover.
We can also look at acquiring staff to solely work with your child and family to limit the risk of infection and cross contamination.
If you think something like this could work for you, get in touch with your clinical nurse manager who will work with you and third parties to determine a suitable solution.
3. Additional measures
We can discuss the introduction of additional measures if they will make you and your family feel more comfortable about receiving care and support.
For example, we can work with you to designate an area in your home where staff can change into uniform upon arrival if preferred, or ask to staff to complete additional COVID-19 tests before shifts.
We are happy to be more flexible and accommodating, so let us know what could help you and family to feel more at ease.
4. Vaccine support
While the Government aren’t offering vaccines to children and young people nationwide at present, there are some exceptions for those age 12+ with specific medical conditions or those who are clinically vulnerable.
If you feel your child is at risk and is eligible and you would like them to have a vaccine, we can provide supporting letters around their needs and risk factors to help you make a case to your local GP.
When you’re ready, we’re here
You might still feel vulnerable to the risk of COVID-19 and it may take a few months for you to feel comfortable again. Rest assured, we are here for you.
Speak to your clinical nurse manager by emailing CCCClinicalteam@voyagecare.com and let us help you to feel safe enough to restart your child or young person’s care package after shielding – your way.