BHTA Wheelchair Services group’s return to work guidance to help providers manage COVID-19 risks
The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and its Wheelchair Services working group have released a detailed ‘return to work’ action plan for services providers aimed at reducing COVID-19 risks for both service users and the clinical staff supporting them.
Created primarily around NHS Wheelchair Services’ working environments, the best practice guidance can also be used by all organisations involved in close personal contact with service users, states the Association.
It continues the collaborative work undertaken by the BHTA and key outsourced providers of wheelchair services – Ability Matters, AJM Healthcare, Blatchford, Contour886, Millbrook Healthcare, NRS Healthcare and Ross Care – since the outbreak to ensure service users’ needs are met despite coronavirus disruption.
In April, the working group created an interactive online map highlighting which wheelchair services were still operating following the redeployment of NHS staff across the health system, helping to inform service users of their nearest available service.
Now, as the country begins to move out of lockdown, the wheelchair services working group has published its detailed ‘back to work’ guidance to help services begin to address the pent-up demand that has been building since the lockdown was introduced on the 23rd March.
Andrew Stevenson, Chairman of the BHTA, commented: “We feel that this is a vital next step in driving the key levers that will ensure a safe and effective return to working patterns and ensure that services users and customers can be confident that their provider and supplier are working to reduce the clinical risk involved in these interactions.
“This is a significant input to the return to work programme and the BHTA is delighted to be once again working very closely with key providers and suppliers to ensure that best practice is at forefront of what will be the new normal.”
In particular, the guidance focuses on minimising face-to-face interactions with patients, where clinically appropriate, by using technology, as well as outlining recommendations on how best to implement technology to provide remote assessments and consultations.
Alongside advice around the use of telephone and video conferencing, the action plan highlights that postal repairs and direct supplies can be utilised as a means of providing equipment to at-risk groups to cut down physical contact.
In cases where face-to-face interactions cannot be avoided, the publication also provides detailed best practice relating to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), including how and when PPE should be disposed of after use.
Specifically referring to clinics, the BHTA guidance sets out several measures that providers can implement to reduce risk of infection on-site, including adhering to social distancing, continuing local decontamination procedures and maximising ventilation in appointment rooms.
Interestingly, a clever recommendation to reduce the need for decontamination suggests “any tools or materials taken into a clinic are placed in a clear bag. If they are not used, the outside of the bag can be wiped.”
For home visits, the guidance stresses that all previous advice still stands, along with additional precautions such as minimising the number of people present, maintaining stringent hand hygiene and not accepting food or drink when in a person’s home.
In addition, the document points out that those visiting homes should “designate any tools, materials and assessment kit as ‘dirty’ using red bags once used” and “clean moulding bags prior to and after moulding.”
The new action plan from the BHTA’s Wheelchair Services working group reinforces the significant change facing all aspects of the industry in the wake of the pandemic. It follows recent government guidance to the retail sector for reopening shops and companies that work in homes, detailing the new reality of life with coronavirus that society will have to adapt to for the foreseeable future.https://thiis.co.uk/bhta-wheelchair-services-groups-return-to-work-guidance-to-help-providers-manage-covid-19-risks/https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Wheelchair-group-outsourced-providers.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Wheelchair-group-outsourced-providers.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Coronavirus NewsCOVID-19 Sector NewsCOVID-19 Trade NewsNewsroomRetailer NewsSupplier NewsTrade NewsAbility Matters,AJM Healthcare,Andrew Stevenson,Assessment,BHTA,Blatchford,British Healthcare Trades Association,Contour886,Millbrook Healthcare,NHS,NHS Wheelchair Services,NRS Healthcare,PPE,return to work,Ross Care,wheelchair,Wheelchair ServicesThe British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and its Wheelchair Services working group have released a detailed ‘return to work’ action plan for services providers aimed at reducing COVID-19 risks for both service users and the clinical staff supporting them. Created primarily around NHS Wheelchair Services' working environments, the best practice...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine