Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for PAs
The Scottish Government has created some advice for Personal Assistants (PAs) regarding the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
As a PA, you may be concerned about the risk of COVID-19 to you and the person you care for including in situations such as:
- Providing personal care for people in different households
- Regularly using public transport to travel to your caring role(s) to provide personal care
The following advice is provided to ensure that you are minimising the risk of spreading the virus when providing personal care:
- Wash your hands. It is important that you ensure you perform hand hygiene using soap and water or hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day and before and after providing any personal care. This is a key measure in preventing the spread of COVID-19
- Assist the person you support with hand hygiene regularly particularly before and after meals and after toileting
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and dispose of them in the nearest waste bin after use. If you have no tissues to hand, you should cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Wash hands with soap and water afterwards
- Provide the person you support with tissues to catch coughs and sneezes
- You should plan ahead for any situation in which you may not be able to provide support for your employer
How to get Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If the routes you normally use to access PPE are unavailable, contact the Social Care PPE Support Centre on 0300 303 3020 and they can provide you with information about where to access PPE locally. This will usually be through a Hub that has been set up in your area.
The team will take you through a series of questions to understand your needs. When you go to collect the PPE from the Hub, or have it delivered to you, you will need to have a document which says you are a personal assistant. This could take the form of the template document used as proof of key worker status (for movement and for shopping, etc).
If you need a document to use as proof of key worker status, there are a number of different ways you can get one. You can ask:
- Your employer
- Your local independent support organisation (see the SDS Scotland website)
- The Scottish Personal Assistant Employer Network (SPAEN)
- Your local authority/Health and Social Care Partnership
Templates are available from these contacts and they will be able to provide you with the document.
Advice for PAs living in the same household as the person they support
Wear any PPE such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of care you provide. No additional PPE for COVID-19 is required unless you or the person you support is symptomatic of COVID-19 however, face coverings should be worn in line with SG advice.
My PA Employer has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19
Contact your local Social Work department to make alternative care arrangements. You should not provide direct care if the person you care for develops symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or if they are confirmed positive for COVID-19. You should seek to make alternative arrangements for care.
You (the PA) have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19
If you have developed symptoms of COVID-19 and the person you support has no symptoms, you should not provide direct care and seek to make alternative arrangements to support your employer. You can contact your local Social Work department to make alternative care arrangements.
If the person you care for also has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, you can continue to provide care as long as you feel well enough to do so OR where you are unable to make alternative care arrangements you must:
- Wear any PPE such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of support you provide
- You should also wear a face mask for the period of time you are providing care for your employer
- After you have provided care directly to the individual, you should remove the face mask (and any PPE) and maintain a distance of 2 metres or more
- Your face mask should be replaced if it becomes damaged, soiled or uncomfortable
When removed, place PPE in a disposable bag and then a secondary disposable bag. It should be tied and held for 72 hours before being placed in the outside household waste bin for collection. Ensure you perform hand hygiene after removal and disposal of PPE.
Wearing PPE will not remove the risk completely of either becoming infected with COVID-19 but it will reduce the risk considerably.
Advice for PAs who do not live in the same household as the person they support
At all of the protection levels, you can still go into another household to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring situation.
Wear any PPE such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of care you provide.
You should wear a face covering if you cannot maintain physical distancing while providing support. No additional PPE for COVID-19 is required unless either you or the person you care for are symptomatic of COVID-19.
Take a look at the resources available from the Scottish Government to guide you in more detail.