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phs helpline

In response to the outbreak of Strep A in Essex, phs Direct has set up a helpline for care homes offering advice on infection control.

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Here to help

Concerned care home and community home workers as well as hospital staff can contact phs Direct to discuss measures which can assist with stringent hygiene measures and the control of infectious diseases.

It is also issuing the following advice:

  • Hand cleanliness: Hand washing is essential in preventing the spread of infection. Staff must clean their hands before and after any direct contact and always if there has been any exposure to bodily fluids. Hands should also be cleaned after being in the vicinity of the resident even if you have had no bodily contact – for example, after leaving their room as you may have touched something that has been contaminated. Hands should be washed thoroughly with liquid soap and dried with disposable paper towels. If the resident is in isolation, handwashing facilities must be available alongside hand sanitisers.
  • Protective equipment: To reduce risk of contamination while carrying out care, personal protective equipment should be used including gloves and aprons. Each item should only be worn once and not shared between others. Remove items as soon as you have finished and disposed of. Gloves do not offer a 100% barrier against contaminations so hands must also be washed as soon as these are removed.


  • Hand sanitiser: Alcohol hand rubs are a fast and effective method of hand cleaning although hands should always be washed with soap and water when visibly dirty. Sanitisers should be located at point of care with prompts to all staff and visitors to use them. Care staff can also be provided with individual sanitiser dispensers to increase compliance rates.


  • Surfaces: During instances of infection, you’ll need to increase your strict cleaning routine with specialist deep cleans. All surfaces need to be cleaned regularly with the use of a disinfectant, especially high-touch surfaces such as bed rails, sinks and light switches. Choose cleaning solutions which are effective against the spread of MRSA, C. Diff, E. Coli and the Norovirus.


  • Air cleaning: An increasingly popular way of reducing the spread of germs is the use of air purifiers. These clean the air by removing contaminants such as airborne germs and viruses – including the flu and norovirus – as well as allergens and pollen, particulate matter and odour. All of this makes a care home a cleaner, healthier, fresher and more pleasant place to live and visit.


  • Refresh staff training: Human error can often be inevitable with a caregiver forgetting to implement a control measure or simply not washing their hands correctly. Train staff regularly on infection control, good hand hygiene and communicate your outbreak plan so everybody knows what to do in the event of an outbreak.


  • Educate residents and visitors: Without proper controls, infection is easily spread between humans. Residents and visitors should be informed about good hand hygiene and the facilities you have available.


Get advice: If any business is concerned by the risk of infection control please contact the helpline. For support on the measures as well as the range of products designed to prevent the spread of infections, please call our helpline or fill out the form.

Visit our Hand Care Services

For more information, please call phs Direct 01827 255 500

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