COVID safe Care Homes

An insight into how Care Homes are operating in a COVID safe way.

Care Home Patient

Care homes across the UK have struggled over the last 10 months to safeguard both residents and staff from the effects of COVID-19. With approximately 400,000 residents living in care homes, the pandemic has led to the loss of life, isolation and disruption to the continuation of care.

Whilst care practitioners are highly skilled and trained in looking after the complex needs of their residents, it’s fair to say they were not prepared for what they had to face. Never had we witnessed a virus that took hold so quickly, deeply affecting those who live and work within our care homes. 

Here at Safe For Work, we were interested to understand how care homes are now operating in a COVID safe way. Below we highlight just some of the additional health and safety measures that have been put in place to keep staff and residents safe. 



The most obvious measure to safeguard staff, and one that all sectors have deployed, is the introduction of new personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facemasks, protective visors, disposable gloves, aprons and eye protection. Additional PPE has been rolled out across all care homes with clear instruction for use. For example, care staff should only use PPE once, it must be changed between different tasks and removed immediately and disposed of correctly. In addition, all PPE has to be compliant with relevant BS/EN standards and stored correctly.

Warning Sign


For staff and residents, frequent and strict handwashing has become a key prevention measure. Before every new contact, hands must be thoroughly washed and dried.

Room ventilation has also become a daily ritual, ensuring all windows and doors are open to allow fresh air to circulate. Of course, this is only implemented if it’s safe to do so.


Many care homes have followed a strict isolation policy on those testing positive for COVID. Once a positive test has been confirmed, those residents then need to isolate for 14 days. Many care homes have introduced a zoning system whereby the staff who deliver care to COVID residents then cannot care for those who are well and displaying no symptoms. This zoning of staff therefore assists with the prevention of spreading the virus to other parts of the home.


Laundry management 

Care homes by their very nature have stringent laundry and waste management systems already in place. During times of a pandemic, this becomes even more important to keep staff and residents safe. Many care homes have therefore implemented more frequent washing of bedding and towels for example with some items being disposed of if they cannot be fully cleaned. 



Since the first UK lockdown, the front doors to care homes were also closed. Residents had to rely on the care from staff with limited access to friends and family. Care homes have facilitated the safe visits of family wherever possible ensuring PPE and social distancing measures are followed. Visits to loved ones have however been restricted by either the frequency in which one can visit or the number of people wishing to visit a resident. 

Care home staff have also encouraged and supported its residents to embrace the use of technology as a way of keeping connected, facilitating video calls with family and friends. 


Care homes have had to implement COVID related training, guidance and practical and emotional support for the care staff looking after residents. From training staff on how to spot signs of COVID, to how to check the temperature of a resident. From what to do if they suspect a case of COVID, to how to safely use and dispose of PPE. With changes to lockdown rules, management and staff need to keep abreast of policy changes and understand how that impacts on a practical day to day basis.

While many care home residents are fragile, with multiple health conditions, the focus should be on the prevention of COVID-19 ever entering a care home in the first place. However, in the event that it does, care homes now have multiple strategies and safeguarding measures in place to reduce the spread of the virus amongst staff and residents.


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