Government confirms removal of universal mask wearing in care homes

Dec 15, 2022 | News

Government confirms removal of universal mask wearing in care homes
This is a long overdue development that will be welcomed not just by residents, their families and friends, but also the many care workers and managers who have called for this to happen also! As ever, if this doesn’t happen quickly, arm yourself with the facts and insist that you expect the care home to follow the new advice.
This is an extract from the changes in the Infection prevention advice from the DHSC:
“Care workers and visitors to care homes do not routinely need to wear a face mask at all times in care settings or when providing care in people’s own homes. However there remain a number of circumstances where it is recommended that care workers and visitors to care settings wear masks to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. These are:
1)  if the person being cared for is known or suspected to have COVID-19 (recommended Type IIR fluid-repellent surgical mask)
2)  if the member of staff is a household or overnight contact of someone who has had a positive test result for COVID-19
3)  if the care setting is in an outbreak – see section on outbreak management for further information
If a care recipient is particularly vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19 (for example, potentially eligible for COVID-19 therapeutics) mask wearing may be considered on an individual basis in accordance with their preferences.
Mask wearing may also be considered when an event or gathering is assessed as having a particularly high risk of transmission.
If the care recipient would prefer care workers or visitors to wear a mask while providing them with care then this should be supported. Providers should also support the personal preferences of care workers and visitors to wear a mask in scenarios over and above those recommended in this guidance.
As per the recommendations for standard precautions, type IIR masks should always be worn if there is a risk of splashing of blood or body fluids.
If masks are being worn due to an outbreak or risk assessment, consideration should be given as to how best to put this into practice while taking account of the needs of individuals and minimising any negative impacts. If a person receiving care finds the use of PPE distressing, or their use is impairing communication, a local risk assessment regarding this can be made. This may be more likely to be relevant when caring for people with learning disabilities or cognitive conditions such as dementia, or supporting individuals who rely on lip reading or facial recognition. If, following a risk assessment, it is determined that the use of face masks should be limited while caring for an individual, appropriate and proportionate mitigations should be considered such as limiting close contact and/or increasing ventilation to maintain adequate infection prevention and control. The needs of the person receiving care should be recognised and they should be as involved as they wish to be and/or are able to be in determining their needs in these circumstances.
You can read the full guidance in the latest update to the Covid -19 Supplement here:



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