Personal protective equipment for care home staff "non-negotiable"

Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be made available to all residential care home staff immediately.

Viv Dickenson, chief executive officer of CrossReach, said it was “unfair and unjust” to expect them to go without.

Viv Dickenson
Viv Dickenson, chief executive of CrossReach.

The most recent official guidance states ‘It is not advised that residents in long-term care are admitted to hospital for ongoing management but are managed within their current setting.’

That means care staff and volunteers will be dealing with those who are acutely ill or dying with COVID-19 symptoms.

Clock is ticking

Mrs Dickenson said: “Our exceptional and dedicated staff are being asked to do what they can but would you want to care for someone with the virus without protection for you, your family and other residents?

“Whilst NHS supplies have been prioritised we have seen arrangements for the care sector lag behind and the supply chain dry up.

“We understand arrangements are being made but have not yet seen the detail and the clock is ticking.

“Personal protective equipment in the care sector is non-negotiable and we hope that the Scottish Government will acknowledge this immediately and act quickly to stop the spread of the virus and protect staff and residents.

“PPE is also vital for staff across the care sector supporting those in their own homes.”

Essential supplies needed

CrossReach is the operating name of the social care arm of the Church of Scotland and runs over 35 residential services across the country, 17 of which are care homes for older people.

The charity, which operates cradle-to-the-grave support services, is appealing to the public to donate overalls, disposable gloves and facemasks if they can.

Community health and care leaders have called on Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to take urgent action to protect those caring for the most sick and vulnerable during the pandemic.

They are urging members of the public to share the letter on social media.

CrossReach, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, is appealing for help in other areas too.

Skills and experience required

Mrs Dickenson said: “We know that there are risks to using public transport at this time, which can spread the virus.

“We are appealing to people to provide transport to get our staff and volunteers safely back and forward to their place of work and be of less risk to others.

“Those living in residential setting still need to be fed and cared for but as staff self-isolate or become sick this will be a real challenge.

“If you have skills and experience from catering to caring which you might be able to offer us, please be in touch.”

Mrs Dickenson said CrossReach is appealing for spare supplies of food, cleaning fluids and funding to help run essential services because fundraising activities have been curtailed.

“We know many people will be financially challenged at this time but if you can spare anything at all, it will be most gratefully received,” she said.

“Please hold our staff, volunteers and service users in your prayers.”

People can donate through crossreach.org.uk or contact supporters@crossreach.org.uk; or telephone 0131 657 2000.