Have you contracted SARS-CoV-2 while working in a care home? Do you believe you have contracted the virus due to a lack of personal protective equipment provided by your employer, or because social distancing rules were not followed? Are you wondering whether you could make a claim for coronavirus which you could have avoided if your employer had taken better care to protect you? If so, this guide could be of use to you.
In the sections below you will find useful insight into how the transmission of COVID-19 could be reduced by wearing adequate PPE. Information is also provided relating to what personal protective equipment for carers is required at this time, and what you should be told by your employer about how to use it properly. If you believe you could be in a position to make a care home staff coronavirus claim against your employer, you will also find some information relating to the levels of compensation you could look to receive, as well as how to get advice and legal support to help maximise your compensation settlement. If you have any questions relating to the content within this guide, or you wish to begin a claim, please do not hesitate to call the Accident Claims UK team on 0800 073 8801.
- A Guide On Care Home Staff Coronavirus PPE Related Compensation Claims
- COVID-19 What Is It And What Do You Need To Know?
- How Care Home Operators Could Protect Staff And Employees
- Guidelines Relating To Care Home PPE
- When Should Staff In Care Homes Be Issued With PPE?
- What PPE Could Or Should I Be Issued With?
- How Should PPE Be Used In Care Home Settings?
- Could I Be Tested For Coronavirus As A Care Home Worker?
- I Was Not Provided With Personal Protective Equipment, Could I Claim?
- Calculating Care Home Staff Coronavirus PPE Related Compensation
- How Else You Could Be Compensated
- How Accident Claims UK Could Help Care Home Staff Affected By COVID-19
- No Win No Fee Care Home Staff Coronavirus PPE Related Claims
- Begin A Claim
- Information About Claims
If you are or have been working as a care home worker during the coronavirus pandemic, your employer should take care to minimise the risks of you contracting COVID-19. If you have contracted the virus due to your employer not having issued you with personal protective equipment, or the PPE you’ve been provided with was inadequate for the job you were undertaking, then you could be able to hold your employer liable for the harm you’ve suffered and the financial effects of having suffered such harm.
Within this guide, you will find information relating to what your employer could do to prevent you from contracting coronavirus as a care home nurse, or another type of care home worker. We will also explain about the PPE that could be appropriate for you to be provided during the pandemic, such as gloves, a facemask, an apron, and more. Also included will be details of what types of PPE could be appropriate for which jobs within a care home, and why it is important that you are shown how to use PPE properly if you are undertaking care work.
If you believe you could have cause to launch a coronavirus claim against your employer because they have not shown you how to work safely in a care home you were employed to work in or were not given the correct PPE, you could find the later sections of this guide particularly useful. This guide includes information on how to go about making a care home staff coronavirus claim and gives some insight into how compensation settlements for such cases could be calculated.
COVID-19 is a highly-infectious virus, which is currently sweeping its way across the globe. There are many different types of coronavirus, but COVID-19 is the type that is currently causing chaos around the world. This particular strain of coronavirus was thought by scientists to have originated in the city of Wuhan, China. It has now spread throughout many countries leading to many country’s leaders having to put in place measures to control the spread of the virus.
This particular virus can cause serious symptoms and could lead to the development of pneumonia in some patients. It could even lead to death. In the UK, social distancing measures have been put in place to prevent the transmission of the virus, and many businesses such as restaurants, bars, hotels have been closed as a result. The UK Government has also asked that people work from home wherever this is possible. However, there are some workplaces where this is impossible, as they are classed as vital services. Care homes are just one of these types of workplaces.
Care home workers are classed as key workers and are not able to work from home during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, their employers are required by law to protect employees’ health and safety while at work. This means that risk assessments should be carried out to work out who should and should not be working during the pandemic, and risks should be reduced as much as possible for those who do need to work during this time.
Care home operators, as we have mentioned, have a legal duty to ensure that they work to protect employees’ health and safety as much as could be considered reasonable at all times. During the coronavirus pandemic, new risk assessments should be conducted to explore the risks to every member of staff within a care home. Whether you are a nursing home nurse, a member of cleaning staff within a care home, or another type of care home worker, your suitability to attend work should be assessed, and if it is deemed appropriate for you to attend work, the risks for transmission should be reduced as much as could be considered reasonable.
Who May Not Attend Work
There are certain vulnerable persons that have been defined by the Government at being most at risk of serious harm from coronavirus. These include:
- Those who have undergone a transplant operation and are taking immunosuppression therapy
- Those with certain cancers
- Those with specific respiratory conditions
- Those with rare diseases
- Those with inborn metabolic errors
- Those on immunosuppression therapies
- Those who have congenital heart disease and are pregnant
The full list can be found here.
Those workers should have received a letter asking them to stay home and be ‘shielded’ from harm by not leaving their house for 12 weeks. Full shielding guidance can be found here.
There are also some people who must be particularly stringent in following government advice on social distancing. These include those who are pregnant, over 70, under 70 with heart disease or asthma, for example. Care home operators should consider whether it could be safe for those who are considered more at risk to attend work during the pandemic.
If you have – or someone in your home has – symptoms of coronavirus
If a care home worker experiences symptoms of coronavirus, they should follow the government’s rules on isolating themselves, and should not attend work or leave their house for 7 days, isolating themselves from other members of the household. If someone living in the same household as the care home worker is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home and isolate for 14 days from the onset of symptoms in the affected person.
The guidelines relating to care home staff coronavirus prevention measures are being updated regularly. According to the Government’s website, PPE, or personal protective equipment, should be issued in accordance with whether or not they are coming into contact with those suffering the symptoms of COVID-19. Below, we discuss these guidelines in more detail.
If a patient in a care home has symptoms of COVID-19, and a care home worker is required to come into close personal contact with the patient, such as assisting with washing, dressing, or other scenarios that may involve contact with bodily fluids, PPE should be issued to them.
The type of PPE that should be provided in order for someone to work safely in a care home while providing this type of care should include:
- Fluid-repellent surgical masks
- Eye protection (if risk of splashing)
If you have not been provided with the correct PPE for carers, and you contract COVID-19 working in a care home as a result of this, you could be eligible to make a care home staff coronavirus claim.
If a patient is not experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you are not required to be provided with PPE. However, if it is deemed appropriate for you to be issued with PPE, then it is important for the following considerations to be taken.
PPE should fit properly – Whether you are issued with gloves, a facemask, an apron, eye protection, hand sanitiser or another item of PPE it is important that:
- It is fit for use. As we mentioned in the above section, for close physical contact with COVID-19 patients, you should be given a fluid repellent mask, as per government guidelines. If you are provided with a mask that is not fluid repellent and you contract coronavirus, you could be eligible to make a care home staff coronavirus claim for inadequate PPE.
- It fits you. According to PPE guidelines, it is important for the fit of the PPE to be considered when it is selected for use. If PPE does not fit correctly then it may not work as it is meant to. If you have been provided with ill-fitting PPE that you believe could have led to you contracting coronavirus as a care home worker, you may be able to claim compensation. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have found yourself in this position.
- It should be appropriately stored, maintained and replaced where appropriate. It should also be clearly defined if it is meant for single/sessional usage.
When it comes to how to safely work in a nursing home during the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that not only should appropriate PPE be issued where it is deemed necessary, but staff should also be shown how to fit it, how and when to use it appropriately and how or when they should dispose of it properly.
According to government guidelines, a new pair of gloves, a new mask, and a new apron should be used for each episode of care relating to close personal care of patients that may have the virus and used PPE should be stored securely, placed in disposable bags, within another bag, and should be kept separate from other waste in the room. This bag should be set aside for a period of at least 72 hours prior to being disposed of in usual waste bins. Hands should be washed carefully with soap and water or hand sanitizer should be used once the bag has been touched This could help to avoid nursing home coronavirus cross-contamination between those working with patients with the virus and those working with patients that are not suffering from coronavirus.
Hand washing/sanitising protocols prior to and after touching items of PPE should also be made clear to staff too. It is essential to ensure that hands are as clean before touching PPE to avoid cross-contamination.
Care home staff working around coronavirus patients should also be issued with detergents and bleach to kill the virus on surfaces within the home. They should be issued with disposable cleaning materials such as cloths that can be disposed of in the same method as above, and they should also use the same methods to dispose of used personal waste such as continence pads, tissues and other items containing bodily fluids.
The government has promised that all care home workers and residents that are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms will be given access to testing, but only once laboratory capacity has been increased. However, there are certainly logistical challenges to this that have been predicted. This means that it could be some time before some care workers and patients are tested, which could be considered to be a risk to both care home patients and their carers.
If PPE was not provided to you according to the guidelines from Public Health England, NHS or the Government as to what would be deemed appropriate for the work you are undertaking, or you are not given the correct instructions on how to use the PPE, or it does not fit you properly, this could lead to you contracting the virus from an infected person. If this is the case, and your employer is deemed to be negligent in their responsibilities as to your health and safety at work, you could be eligible to claim compensation for avoidable harm you have suffered due to the negligence of your employer.
To find out how much coronavirus compensation you could claim for your injuries, you may have looked for a personal injury claims calculator online. However, we should mention that the figures you’d get from such a calculator would only ever be rough estimates. This is because all cases are assessed on a specific set of facts, so every claim would result in a different outcome. We do understand, however, that you may wish to get some idea of the level of compensation you could look to receive before you go ahead with a care home staff coronavirus claim, so instead of using a calculator here, we have chosen to display guideline payout amounts for specific injuries that we believe could relate to this type of case.
The figures you can see in the table below have been taken from a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines. This is annually updated and provides guidance on compensation brackets for cases in England and Wales. We have included injuries that could relate to a coronavirus claim, but if yours is not included below, we may be able to provide some more insight over the phone. We should mention that these are only guideline amounts, and the value of your claim would only be assessed on the completion of a medical report, which is required for every personal injury claim. You would need to go and see an independent medical expert, who would review your medical notes, examine you and write a report detailing your condition and prognosis.
|Guideline Payout Bracket
|Significant lung function effects, which impair the ability to breathe of the injured party. Cases could include those where there are prolonged frequent bouts of coughing, which could disturb sleep and affect the physical activities of the injured party as well as restricting their ability to work.
|£51,420 to £65,710
|While there would be no disabling breathlessness, injured parties would suffer difficulties with their breathing. There may be a need for them to frequently use an inhaler.
|£29,380 to £51,460
|Bronchitis/wheezing that doesn’t cause serious symptoms. No permanent effects on the injured party’s ability to work or have a social life but there could be some anxiety surrounding their future condition.
|£19,510 to £29,380
|Where there isn’t a detrimental effect on the injured party’s ability to work. There would likely be a full recovery within a few months.
|£2,070 to £5,000
|This could lead to significant possibility that the injured party could suffer future UTI. There could be a possibility of natural function loss.
|up to £60,050
As well as claiming compensation for the pain, loss of amenity and suffering that you’ve incurred because of your injuries, you could also claim for financial expenses caused by your injuries. These may include, but would not be limited to:
Earning losses – Sometimes, when a person is injured, they may be unable to attend work as normal. Depending on an employer’s sick pay scheme, this may mean they lose out on being paid what they normally would. If you have experienced loss of earnings due to contracting coronavirus due to inadequate PPE, these could be included as special damages within your claim. In addition to this, if you are unable to return to work at all, future losses of earnings could be calculated, and these could also be included within your claim.
Care costs – Some injuries may leave claimants in a position where they need care at home, to help them with daily tasks such as dressing and washing. The costs for this care could also be claimed for as special damages.
Medical costs – Should you have had to pay for prescriptions, counselling or physiotherapy, for example, medical costs that have arisen due to your injuries could be claimed for as special damages.
Travel costs – Travel relating to your injuries could also be included within your claim. This could mean costs relating to transport to your doctors, the hospital or to see your lawyer could be covered by special damages.
If you have incurred a cost and are not sure whether it could be included as special damages, please do not hesitate to ask us. We will be glad to check this out for you. We should mention that it is vital to keep proof of any losses and costs incurred because of your injuries. Documents such as bank statements, receipts, bills and payslips could provide proof of these costs. Without such proof, you would not be able to claim for expenses, so it would be a good idea to keep them safe so that they could be provided to your personal injury lawyer when they ask for them.
If you’re looking for guidance and support with making a care home worker COVID-19 claim, or you have questions you’d like answered, we are here to help. We offer free, no-obligation advice and could even provide a case assessment to see if you could have a valid claim for compensation. If our advisors feel that you could be entitled to compensation, we would be glad to connect you with a No Win No Fee Lawyer, who could take on your case to fight for compensation on your behalf. We are proud of the service we offer. Our experience and knowledge allow us to provide claimants with all the information they need to make a decision on whether making a claim is right for them, and we are glad to be able to provide claimants with the legal support they may need to claim the maximum compensation possible for their case. All of our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis too, which means you could begin a claim right away, without having to pay upfront for your lawyer’s fees.
We should mention that you would usually only have a limited period of time in which to claim compensation for your injuries. The usual personal injury claims time limit is three years from the incident date or three years from the date it was discovered you had suffered avoidable harm due to a liable party’s negligent behaviour. If you are getting close to this date, then your personal injury lawyer may issue protective proceedings to the court, in order to give you/them a little time to come to a settlement agreement with a liable party, gather crucial evidence, or learn more about your case. If you believe this could be something you might want to do, our personal injury lawyers could help with this.
Are you wondering how much you’d have to pay upfront to retain the services of a personal injury solicitor to help you with your claim? If you chose to make a claim on a No Win No Fee basis, you would not have to pay your lawyer upfront or at any point during the process of your claim. Instead, you would be asked to sign a document known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, which promises to pay your lawyer a small success fee (a percentage of your total payout) should they successfully negotiate a compensation payout for you. This would only be payable at the end of your claim. The success fee is legally capped too, so you would not have to fear that all your compensation would be taken up in legal fees, and, if your lawyer did not manage to negotiate a settlement for you, you would not have to pay the success fee.
If you have further questions about making a care home worker coronavirus claim on this basis, please do not hesitate to get in touch. All of the lawyers on our panel work on this basis.
Whether you are ready to begin your claim for contracting coronavirus as a care home nurse, or you’d like to benefit from free, no-obligation advice or an eligibility check, you can reach us in a number of different ways. You could email the team on email@example.com, call us on 0800 073 8801, or chat via our live chat service. However you prefer to get in touch with us, we’ll be happy to help you.
WHO Coronavirus Information – Here, you can read what the World Health Organisation has to say about Coronavirus.
Government’s Advice On Working In Care Homes – COVID-19 specific advice for care home workers can be found here.
Residential Care Advice – Here, you can read more governmental advice on residential care home provision during the coronavirus pandemic.
Inadequate PPE Claims – Here, we offer some guidance on making a claim for inadequate PPE against and employer.
Care Home Negligence – In this guide, we reveal more about claiming compensation for negligence within a care home.
Accident At Work Claims – This guide offers some general insight into making claims against an employer.
Article by JJ
Edited by MM.