The use of face masks

We are getting more and more enquiries and concerns as to why our staff are not wearing masks while providing care. Like all care providers, we are following the guidance from Central Government and the Department of Health.

Since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak the guidance has been clear, only two types of people should wear masks: those who are sick and show symptoms, and those who are caring for people who are suspected to have the Coronavirus.

Nobody else needs to wear a mask, and there are several reasons for that.

One is that a mask is not seen as reliable protection, given that current research shows the virus is spread by droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces. So it could protect you, but only in certain situations such as when you’re in close quarters with others where someone infected might sneeze or cough near your face. This is why experts say frequent hand washing with soap and water is far more effective.

Another reason is that removing a mask requires special attention to avoid hand contamination, and it could also breed a false sense of security.

At the time of writing, we are not caring for anyone that is showing symptoms of COVID-19. Our staff are fully aware of what to look for and are self-isolating themselves when advised to limit the risk to our clients and other staff. However we have taken the decision that in the event any Service User is required to self-isolate, the Service User will be provided a mask to wear while care is being delivered. Further to this our visiting staff will also be issued masks and eye protection to wear while they provide the care.

In addition, and as I’m sure you will have seen on the national media there is a shortage of PPE for both the NHS and Social Care. This is not an excuse, however it is a reason to not use masks frivolously. It’s important that we protect the limited stocks we have.

By following this link you will be able to read the official guidance that has been published by Central Government for Home care providers.

For further interest here is a link to the World Health Organisation regarding the correct use of masks when dealing with COVID-19.