Background questions and answers

Table of Contents

Who created this website?

Claire Kilpatrick @claireekt and Jules Storr @julesstorr @safesafersafest are independent experts in infection prevention and control (IPC), recognised internationally and have published widely on the subject, both in scientific articles and World Health Organization guidance and manuals (previously conducting similar work at country level). Jules was formerly President of the Infection Prevention Society of the UK and Ireland. They are founders and directors of KSHealthcare Consulting Ltd (S3 Global).

Claire and Jules have worked in a voluntary capacity with Care Home Relatives Scotland to create this unique, practical website. Thanks go to Alessandro Madeddu (Maraltro) and Zoe Shuttleworth (Rude Goose) for their invaluable design contributions.

Why was it created?

The experts perspective – In October 2020, together with 30+ other experts and concerned others, Jules Storr and Claire Kilpatrick were part of an open letter published in the UK Nursing Times journal calling for IPC to be used as an enabler and supporter of safe, compassionate entry to care homes. This was based on the growing online evidence that relatives and friends were being forbidden to see loved ones in care home settings, with infection prevention often being stated as the barrier to these interactions, rather than IPC measures as the enabler. They continue to publicise the message of IPC as enabler, including in a recent Nursing Times opinion piece and a forthcoming letter in the American Journal of Infection Control together with overseas colleagues. Other publications to support this are in the pipeline.

The family and carer perspective – In August 2020, a group of five daughters, unable to see their mums in care homes, came together to share their concerns. A Facebook page was established (Care Home Relatives Scotland, CHRS, @chrscotland) and within eight weeks had welcomed over 1000 members. In October 2020, CHRS approached Claire and Jules to support and drive an agenda of IPC as an enabler.

The drive was based on the fact that despite media coverage, peaceful demonstrations, a petition signed by over 90 000, regular communication and meetings with Scottish Government bodies responsible for producing guidance, the ability to have meaningful contact with residents in care homes had not improved.

Together, Claire, Jules and CHRS developed the resources available on this site, on a voluntary basis, to provide a space for promoting the positive message that IPC works when applied. Explaining and illustrating the use of IPC measures in a clear and understandable format, and in the context of potential scenarios that occur between loved ones, i.e. family members/friends and residents interacting within a care home setting, can provide reassurance, instil confidence and address the many unnecessary barriers and concerns that currently exist in relation to safe and meaningful interaction. This includes the reliable and consistent application of the correct IPC measures such as appropriate use of masks and hand hygiene.

Our priority is to provide targeted resources through the website enablesafecare.org which is published in good faith and for general information purposes, positively aimed at carers, family members, relatives, friends and those who work in care homes. The contents will also be useful to leaders at all levels. We acknowledge that official government guidance currently outlines the necessary infection prevention and control measures/ resources. The resources exist to support these measures; the materials are not a substitute for official guidance.

What is available on the enablesafecare.org website?

Resources called ‘Time to Open Up’, (parts 1 and 2) explain how infection prevention and control measures can enable safe and compassionate care home interactions in the context of COVID-19. 

Part 1 – Visual scenarios bring care home interactions to life
Part 2 – An information leaflet designed to further reassure and support anyone who is planning to spend time with a care home resident.

Social media messages and graphics are also available to support people to advocate for safe and compassionate care home interactions.

The resources are by no means exhaustive – what they aim to do is support existing advocacy to ensure IPC measures are trusted as an approach to safe and meaningful interactions.

Who should use the resources on this website?

The resources aim to support anyone undertaking or supporting safe and compassionate human interaction in care homes. Primarily, the information is aimed at carers, family members, relatives, friends but also those who work in care homes. It will also be useful to leaders at all levels who provide and promote guidance on safe interactions within care homes.

They are freely available and accessible for all those affected by or committed to improving the current situation where restrictions remain in place in care homes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these resources were initially developed for use in Scotland, UK, they can be used anywhere there is a need.

How should the resources be used?

Whether you are part of an existing campaign on this issue, or an individual, we hope that these resources can be read, understood, used and promoted, in order to support ongoing efforts and help others understand that IPC, when applied properly, has a place in ensuring safe interactions in care homes. They are available to support your day-to-day communications and advocacy efforts.

What are the website’s limitations?

We acknowledge that official government guidance currently outlines the necessary infection prevention and control measures/ resources. The resources on this website exist to support these measures; the materials are not a substitute for official guidance. 

We do not provide responses to enquiries due to the overarching purpose of the website and the voluntary nature of those involved.

Where to find more information?

Visit your national public health and health and social care websites for further information. In addition, seek out national infection prevention and control organisations who may have useful resources and information or go to the World Health Organization’s website.

The suggestions here are by no means exhaustive but always use trusted sources of information.

DISCLAIMER

All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purposes. We acknowledge that official government guidance currently outlines the necessary infection prevention and control measures/ resources. The materials exist to support these measures. The resources are not a substitute for official guidance.

The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the suitability or applicability to all settings. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.