Using Personal Protective Equipment in Home and Community Care During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread locally and around the globe, there is increasing information about significant supply shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) i.e., masks, gowns, gloves, and hand sanitizer. The media has mostly focused on hospital supplies, but home and community care organizations face those same supply shortages. What has become even more challenging is that hospitals and long term care homes are first priority for supplies, which has impacted the home and community care sector.

It is important to note that Ontario Health and our provincial Ministry is working with suppliers, distributors, local partners and the Federal Government to address shortages in critical supplies and equipment.

  • This includes procurements of gloves, masks, and eye protection to date, with many other opportunities being pursued.
  • The Ministry is actively working with the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to leverage opportunities with industries, businesses and innovators to source the necessary supplies and equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Guidelines for Wearing Personal Protective Equipment During Home Visits

At Circle of Care, we require for all our Personal Support Workers to wear gloves, masks and a face shield/goggles during all home visits. We also insist that staff, clients and families self assess and self identify if they are experiencing ANY symptomatology prior to home visits. Our PSWs are supplied with surgical gowns and shoe covers for any client visits in COVID-positive environments.

As we’ve emphasized in our other communications, self- assessment, hand washing and not touching your face remains the number one way to prevent the spread of infection.

Guidelines for additional infection protection:

Our Personal Support Workers have been trained on a number of measures to reduce the transmission and spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19. These measures include hand and respiratory hygiene, self-monitoring and assessment, and social distancing. Our Personal Support Workers have also been trained on the proper use of both surgical masks and gloves during home visits (i.e, disposal, frequency of use).

The Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario provides regular updates that are reviewed and discussed daily by our COVID-19 Prevention Working Group. If we are at any point given new directions regarding PPE or other infection prevention measures, we will educate and equip our employees and clients accordingly.

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