Home Care Homes Why we must ensure the products we use to keep residents safe are simple yet highly effective

Why we must ensure the products we use to keep residents safe are simple yet highly effective

by Lisa Carr
Prof Martin Green, CEO, Care England

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

As we move through the winter, we are undoubtedly going to face significant challenges in social care, and first amongst them is going to be how we retain and recruit our valued workforce. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our workforce has shown tremendous commitment and skill in managing what is an unprecedented situation, but as we face the winter many of our staff are exhausted and our recruitment of new staff is also extremely challenging. 

We have seen this workforce challenge being played out across residential and home care services and in the NHS. In social care, there are over 150,000 vacancies and the turnover rate is over 30%. This level of turnover and the number of vacancies puts significant pressure on the staff who work in care. 

In part, this difficulty in recruiting staff may be because of the increased profile of social care in the minds of the public, the media, and the NHS. This increased understanding shows how complex the jobs in care can be, and this may be one of the reasons why people are put off joining our sector. 

The pandemic has also really elevated the status of the cleaning and support staff within care services. Infection control has become one of the primary roles in care, and an organisation’s performance around hygiene and infection control is being scrutinised as never before. 

This scrutiny is not only coming from commissioners and regulators, but it is also coming from residents, and their families, who are determined to ensure that services are clean and safe. The focus on hygiene and infection control gives residents’ families and staff the confidence that the people they love are not being exposed to risk. 

Despite these enormous challenges, there are some fantastic careers to be had in social care and it is important that employers champion these roles, but also make it as easy as possible for staff to deliver on the outcomes to the people we support.  

One element of a consistent and clear cleaning regime is knowing that the products you use are going to be effective and easy to use. Brands such as Flash Professional are invaluable for the sector because you can be sure that they are effective, killing 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This really helps you to plan a consistent cleaning regime and staff need very little extra training to be able to use this product. 

Similarly, brands such as Ariel Professional create trusted and familiar products, and laundry and cleaning staff do not need significant amounts of training to be able to use these effectively. Many of these brands are used in people’s own homes, and so the added benefit is that residents and their families also are familiar with them, giving them the comfort that standards of cleanliness and hygiene are being maintained. 

The challenge for residential care providers is to deliver an infection control regime that is effective and meets all the requirements of regulation but at the same time, they have to create a familiar and homely environment within which people live. 

Many of the products that are used in care settings do both these things – ultimately helping care establishments thrive. Fairy Professional and Lenor Professional, for example, are well-regarded national brands that appear in people’s homes and in care settings they deliver on the requirements of hygienic clean but they also through their familiarity and smells ensure that people feel a sense of belonging and familiarity when they move into care homes. 

The workforce challenges faced by our sector are not going to go away quickly but as care providers, we must make every effort to ensure that the products we use to keep people safe are easy to use and deliver the homely atmosphere that is at the centre of good care.

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