Review of infection control measures implemented by municipal home care services during the coronavirus epidemic
Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 8/2020
In June 2020, the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision conducted a review of home care services provided by municipalities to obtain an overview of what they were doing to prevent coronavirus infection, whether they were prepared for a situation involving the spread of infection and the consequences of the pandemic for the services.
The review shows that the municipalities have made great strides forward. Nevertheless, there are some areas where better planning and greater preparedness are needed.
Many municipalities have not given all their staff the training they need in order to perform their tasks in the event of infection/symptoms of infection or to use infection control equipment. The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision urges all municipalities to assess the risks associated with only providing training to some staff, rather than all staff involved in the provision of home care services.
All municipalities stated that they had implemented measures to safeguard staffing in the event of a substantial drop-off in staff availability, but half responded that they had not established any specific agreements concerning cooperation with others (e.g. municipalities/districts, other enterprises). The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision recommends that all municipalities consider establishing such agreements.
Many have been concerned about infection. In almost half of the municipalities, staff have used infection control equipment when it was not necessary. The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision realizes there is a need to provide information concerning the use of infection protection equipment.
Almost all municipalities have reduced, revised or discontinued the range of home care services they provide to users. The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision stresses that individual assessments must be made to determine whether this is prudent. The measures that have been implemented in connection with the coronavirus pandemic are temporary, and should not last longer than is strictly necessary.