A care home group has acted quickly to help their homes increase hygiene during the current pandemic.
Beechcroft Care Homes, which has three care homes, all in Cary Park, Torquay, has built and installed brand new staff changing facilities at all its sites.
Hard on the heels of the government’s £600m Infection Control Grant, given to the care home sector earlier this autumn, owners Julia and David Gow-Smith specified standalone staff changing rooms to be built in the gardens of Choice Care Home, and Beechcroft Care Home whilst also giving the green light for a basement conversion at Southbourne Care Home.
Property manager Lee Sanderson co-ordinated all three projects, completing them to a premium standard in just 10 weeks.
“One of the biggest risks to our homes is that the staff will bring in SARS-CoV-2 from contacts in the community,” he explains. “The challenge was to consider and implement ways to minimise those risks, referring to latest guidelines, best practice and researching the best products.”
“Our answer has been to build bespoke facilities, with hygiene controls very much an integral part of the construction,” Lee continues. “Staff can now arrive on site, change into their uniforms, store their leisure clothes and belongings securely in antimicrobial lockers, wash their hands and put on their PPE (face mask) and start work. Likewise after work, with the possibility of showering too.
“This means that they are not wearing their uniforms to and from work, are able to wash their hands and put on their mask before coming in to the home and doing the reverse on leaving, therefore reducing the risk or community transmission.”
The purpose-built timber-framed garden structures and basement facility all include shower, toilets, washing facilities, antimicrobial lockers, microwaves, kettles as well as kitchen units to allow staff to prepare snacks and meals. Waste is segregated so that used PPE is disposed of as clinical waste.
“The hard surfaces fitted throughout all three changing areas help ensure we can keep everything clean and hygienic”. Lee adds.
After research, Lee chose lockers fabricated in 18mm waterproof board and surfaced with Biomaster technology, proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria by up to 99.9%.
Biomaster is effective against a wide range of organisms such as Legionella, MRSA and E-coli, reducing the opportunity for them to grow on the locker.
Recently launched by storage specialists Crown Sports Lockers to complement infection prevention strategies and control in healthcare sites, the lockers Beechcroft Care Homes have fitted are the first in this sector.
“They even feature sloping tops to prevent build-up of dust and debris,” Lee explains. “Staff are also able to use their own padlocks to secure their belongings.”
David Gow-Smith states. “We have invested heavily over the last five years to improve the facilities offered to residents and staff at all three of the group’s care homes.
“The need in 2020 to help manage the current pandemic focused our attention on adding dedicated facilities for our dedicated staff.
“The facilities have provided an additional step in hygiene ,” he adds, “as well as giving staff a pleasant, safe, modern and functional environment to rest and recuperate during their breaks.
“They have been well received by all and as owners we take comfort in knowing we have taken added steps to reduce the risk of SAR-COV-2 entering our care homes”.
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