Top view gloves with medical mask hand sanitizer

Making Infection Prevention and Control work in a community setting

Learning Disabilities Day SupportOrganised by APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology), the theme for this year’s International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) is “Make Your Intention Infection Prevention”. We all recognise, now more than ever, how important good infection control is in the battle against a global pandemic and to keep the world safe from healthcare-associated infections.

We’ve heard a lot about managing this situation in residential settings over the past 18 months, but what about infection control in the wider community, in other settings that we have less control over? We spoke to our Community Lives team about the work they have been doing behind the scenes to keep the people we support and our colleagues safe from COVID-19 and other infections.

Marianne Burgisser Deputy Manager for Earley & Woodley Day Services, explains the team’s objectives

We knew we needed to keep people safe, but we still needed to run a service, so we had to think quickly. We operate the service from community venues, which we have less control over. We’ve worked hard to balance the risk this so that people can continue to enjoy their activities, socialise and enjoy the community facilities they are used to. The team have been brilliant, adapting to each change. The new measures have slotted into our daily working practices, it’s now become second nature.

So what have team done to meet these challenges? Marianne continues.

All our staff wear IIR FLUID repellent masks at all times (and change them regularly). We look for outdoor settings, with plenty of fresh air, for activities. All donning and doffing takes place in separate areas to reduce chance of contamination of clean PPE. 

Chairs and tables have been strategically placed and a oneway system is in operation to avoid congestion and maintain social distancing. Windows throughout the building are opened first thing in the morning, to provide good ventilation.

The team have developed portable donning and doffing stations that they can set up anywhere they provide services. When supporting people to take part in activities elsewhere in the community, they always remember a few key things. Staff always check that they are prepared for the outing, checking the contents
of the PPE packs before going on a community activity. If people need to use the facilities in the community, staff take a pack containing antiviral wipes/spray and wipe the seat and handles before and after use. When travelling in the vehicle, the steering wheel, keys, gearstick, handbrake, and door handles are wiped down with antiviral spray before and after each use. 

They also ventilate the vehicle by opening windows during journeys and support customers to travel alone or in their bubbles. When reading the measures above (and these are a sample of the measures) we begin to realise that the requirement for input is large, covering all aspects of service delivery, yet the team have quietly and diligently carried this out every day and have shown us that IPC can be achieved regardless of building or location, with a little bit of thought and preparation.

Find out more about our Community Lives Services here 

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