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AJM Healthcare, which provides wheelchair and mobility services to over 85,000 individuals every year, has produced a document detailing how it intends to protect service users and staff from COVID-19 and to minimise the chances of virus transmission.

The company provides services to the NHS and local authority partners in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Milton Keynes, London, Kent, Essex, Sussex and Surrey.

Recently, AJM Healthcare gained CECOPS Corporate Accreditation for its community equipment, integrated wheelchair services and approved repairer services.

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In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the company is assuring how it will keep its service users and staff safe while still providing a quality service.

AJM Healthcare says its business continuity management team is continuously monitoring the COVID-19 situation and responding in accordance with latest government advice.

General

To help maintain the health and safety of all people who come into contact with AJM Healthcare’s community equipment and integrated wheelchair services, the company has established some best practice guidelines in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes staff maintaining safe distancing at all times, basing clinical staff with laptops at home after appointments to write up clinical records, reducing unnecessary travelling across sites, cancelling training except for online or through webinars, ensuring internal cleaning of AJM’s vans using wipes, manging clinical risks and logging decision making, and ensuring daily cleaning of departments.

In addition, AJM Healthcare says all staff are required to read the daily COVID-19 updates sent out via email.

Hospital discharges

According to AJM Healthcare, one of its key priorities in the wake of coronavirus is facilitating the speedy release of hospital beds by providing wheelchairs as quickly as possible, even if the person being discharged falls outside the commissioned service area.

Appointments

The community equipment and wheelchair services provider adds that all clients should be called before their booked appointment to establish if they are fit to be seen. Wherever possible, clinical concerns should be addressed via telephone or video call.

In the event of a telephone or video call, AJM Healthcare assures that client confidentially will be maintained by its staff members.

The company states that appointments should not go ahead if the service user is self-isolating, has symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Importantly, the only exception to this rule is where the risks of not intervening outweigh those of staff attending the appointment, AJM stresses.

For instance, the document says that when deciding whether to visit someone who is self-isolating or has COVID-19 symptoms, the clinical lead/delegate should consider urgent pressure care issues where AJM’s intervention would make a significant difference to the person’s care and/or prevent hospital admission.

Another example provided is whereby the service user has a deteriorating condition and there is an increased risk of hospitalisation.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The document says that all staff needs to use appropriate PPE as outlined by NHS guidance, which includes gloves, aprons, alcohol gel and wipes.

When the clinical lead is visiting a service user with coronavirus symptoms in the instance of an emergency, AJM Healthcare adds surgical face masks may need to be worn.

Care homes

According to AJM Healthcare, all staff members will respect and follow care home procedures and policies upon entry.

Inadvertent contact with COVID-19

“Staff who, inadvertently, come into contact with a service user having COVID-19 while not wearing PPE can remain at work; this is because in most instances it will have been a short-lived exposure, unlike exposure in a household setting that is ongoing,” the company’s coronavirus statement says.

However, AJM Healthcare says that staff should not attend work if they develop any coronavirus symptoms and self-isolate immediately.

Equipment

AJM Healthcare has detailed its rigorous equipment standards to prevent transmission of the virus and ensure service users and staff remain safe and well.

These standards include:

  • All equipment used for assessment must be cleaned prior to use and after use with appropriate (minimum 70 percent) alcohol wipes
  • Where possible, equipment for handover that does not need clinical adjustment/set up should be delivered outside the service user’s house at an agreed time
  • With emergency repairs, wherever possible, equipment should be collected from the service user’s front door at an agreed time; the repair should be conducted outside and the equipment returned without personal contact
  • Maintain contact with regular suppliers regarding equipment supply and timescales, raising concerns to the procurement manager
  • Keep stocks of standard equipment topped up, raising concerns to the procurement manager

National instruction scenarios

AJM Healthcare has also underlined its response to the range of possible instructions issued nationally by the UK Government.

For instance, if NHS England says all outpatient activity should cease, AJM Healthcare will cease clinic appointments at all main and satellite centres but will continue with home visits.

In another scenario, if the UK Government says that all health/social care in the community should stop, then AJM Healthcare will only continue home visits in respect of the clinical priorities identified.

To read AJM Healthcare’s full coronavirus workflow and risk management process statement, click here

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