Restoring Confidence in Care

Professor Martin Green OBE is an Expert Advisory Council member for P&G Professional and the Chief Executive of Care England

As we move into a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is seductive to think that it is now all over – but that is far from the truth. COVID-19 is still with us, and even though we now have vaccines and improved treatments, there is still a significant danger to people who are older, frail, or living with a long-term condition.

It is absolutely vital that care providers do not lower their guard, but continue to focus on rigorous infection control and cleanliness regimes.

The events of the last 18 months have thrust the issue of hygiene and infection control to the front of people’s minds. This is particularly true in the care sector, which has seen some of the worst consequences of this dreadful health emergency.

One of the most important changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has produced in our sector is the way in which cleanliness and hygiene, which was always important, has now become a top priority and moved to the centre stage for every single care provider.

Care providers know they have to deliver high levels of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control not just as this is the key to the protection of their residents and staff, but also because it gives families and loved ones peace of mind.

Families and loved ones have been so concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the people they love and have not been able to go into care homes to see their family members because of the fear of bringing Covid-19 into a care service.

The Care Quality Commission, the regulator for the care sector, has also focused on the issues of hygiene in care services, and is asking care providers to prove that their cleaning regimes are offering the maximum protection for people who use services.

Customer confidence has also been significantly hit during the last 18 months and it is now important that care providers build back customers’ trust by showing that care services are safe, providing the best possible environment for people with long-term conditions and complex needs.

A recent report revealed 31% of the public would be less likely to choose residential care for their loved ones – this was partly as a result of the pandemic, which has had a huge impact on care services.

The research also showed a heightened awareness of cleanliness and hygiene among the public – these were issues they were going to ask care providers specifically about when making decisions about which care service to choose.

The pandemic has really changed people’s views on cleaning and infection control. Previously, cleaning was sometimes seen as a supplementary activity, but now it has to be part of any businesses longterm plan. The training and development of the cleaning team is also an important part of ensuring that there is a systematic approach to infection control.

As well as all the issues around ensuring services are safe, there is also a need to deliver a homely and familiar environment for residents. Many of the products that care homes use are familiar to residents and their families. This really helps to create a feeling of normality and homeliness, particularly for those who may be living with dementia.

If a resident or family goes into a care home and sees familiar brands – such as Fairy Professional, Ariel Professional, or Bold Professional – it brings a feeling of familiarity. The smells associated with particular products are also very important for establishing a normal existence, particularly for people living with dementia.

Brands such as P&G Professional have a long history of working in the care sector, and not only do they provide products that are good value, but they also ensure that the highest level of infection control and cleanliness is delivered in a way that is easy to administer.

Products such as Flash Professional give real assurance around infection control because residents and families know and trust the product and its efficacy. This enables care providers to develop a planned and systematic approach to the cleaning of hard surfaces, improving efficiency and giving confidence to the cleaning team that the war against infection is being won, in turn helping businesses to thrive.

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