Infection Control Support in 2021 and beyond
With over 20 years experience in the care industry, Andway’s vision has always been to transform the standard of service within the care industry, by providing an unrivalled and personalised service. This customer-centric approach has been tested to the max over the last 12 months with global supply chain disruption and the avalanche of ever-evolving guideline changes applicable to care homes.
However, Head of Sales, Jay Ledgeway and his team have been galvanised by the impact of the pandemic on their customers, to reach out to care homes and to develop and provide a whole new level of support. He feels this will now need to become the industry norm, particularly in the area of infection prevention and control (IPC).
IPC advice & support
Over the last year the care industry has seen multiple, and at times, confusing guideline introductions and changes, from organisations such as WHO, PHE and subsequently CQC and there have been many incidents of panic buying, and a jammed switchboard with customers looking for help in clarifying compliant products.
The marketplace was also subject to ‘new players’, particularly online, and as could be seen by the governments mask supply issues, it was incredibly easy to buy a non-compliant product.
Working with both established and emerging suppliers, Andway saw a clear need to develop and publish impartial guides to help care home managers and care home owners make the right and informed choices. The growing download suite now includes guides to Gloves, Masks, Sanitisation vs Disinfectant vs Anti-Virucidal cleaning, Wipes, IPC and Laundry.
2021 and Introduction of an XLA
The reaction to this impartial and informed support was the platform to create and launch in January 2021 a 5-pronged proactive way of working together titled an XLA (Experience Level Agreement). Inclusive of Customer Care, Cost Control, Compliance, Accessibility and Supply, the XLA embodies how the team approach and operate within all customer interactions and services.
Jay Ledgeway ‘I can now see that the level of service afforded to care homes has pivoted to a new norm, with no place left for anything less than a partnership approach to problem solving, working together on care home priorities and supporting the management in every way possible. This is particularly important in the infection prevention and control arena’.
Cost reduction in IPC
In a recent customer survey, over 47% of respondents stated an urgent need to reduce costs in infection control, with budgets having spiralled out of all control, particularly in the early months of the pandemic.
Usage audits and spend reports
Having always worked with customers to help them monitor usage and spend vs budgets, this has now developed into an Infection Control Audit service, which allows each site to review usage of all infection control including PPE products with a view to streamlining and improving efficacy at the same time.
PIC and laundry
In this COVID era laundry considerations are again under scrutiny by many care homes and care environments to avoid the risk of infection through clothing and bedding.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Coronavirus is typically transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing) rather than through objects and materials that can transfer the virus if they become contaminated. However, CDC guidelines also note that the virus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials, including clothing. We have seen a plethora of advice and claims that additional sanitising products need to be added to a wash, leaving care homes having to make decisions which impact both cost and staff training time. Our position has again been to provide impartial advice on a detergent-based wash regime which will kill enveloped viruses without the need for additional and budget-breaking products.
IPC and furniture
As a result of the pandemic increases in cleaning regimes are now the norm and again care homes have needed impartial help in understanding if their existing cleaning products adhere to any new guidelines around furniture cleaning or in selecting new products.
IPC product consolidation
A key feature of the XLA is to work with each customer going forward to consolidate product lines, focusing on infection control in the first instance as this is the second largest overspend next to staffing costs in most care homes.
IPC budgeting support
Care homes are offered budgeting support and insights using the results from audits, usage metrics, consolidation reviews in conjunction with management consultations and discussions.
All care homes are kept up to date with changes in guidelines and how these affect product and service choices.
The care home market now has an even wider choice of IPC products and services, from anti-viral door handles to air sterilisers and Andway understand the responsibility they hold to be able to help and advise their customers accordingly.
With so many businesses pivoting to a digital-only offering, Jay and the team at Andway believe that working together on literally life-threatening issues such as IPC can only be approached as a combined and personalised responsibility, a million miles removed from the traditional buyer-supplier relationship. The stakes are simply too high.
Jay Ledgeway Head of Sales