Support Point Update 22 January 2019

Support Point Update 22 January 2019

Early Childhood Ireland’s Support Point can be contacted Monday to Friday. Support Point deal with a range of issues related to the running of an early years service. The Support Point team are available 9am-5pm by phone on 01 4057103 or by email at [email protected]. If you have a query outside of these hours, please send us an email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Infection Control – Nappy Changing

If your service has children in nappies, you should be aware that nappy changing can pose an infection risk to children and staff. In order to protect yourself, your colleagues, and the children in your service, work the following into your Infection Control and Nappy Changing Policies:

  • Nappy changing rooms should not open onto any occupied room or room where food is stored; except a hall, corridor, or ventilated lobby.
  • The nappy changing room should be adequately ventilated; either by window or mechanical ventilation.
  • There should be a wash basin in the nappy changing room. It should have hot and cold running water and access to liquid soap and paper towel dispensers.
  • Children’s hands should be washed and dried after nappy changing. Staff should also ensure that they have thoroughly washed their hands before and after nappy changing. Safefood have a campaign around this, which will give you some ideas on how to effectively wash hands for staff and children.
  • Staff changing nappies should use powder free and synthetic vinyl or latex gloves.
  • Nappy changing mats should be waterproof, in good condition (i.e. no exposed stuffing or foam), and have an easily cleanable cover. They should be wiped down after each nappy change.
  • All nappies should be disposed of in a way that does not incur a risk infection. Soiled nappies should be disposed of in an airtight, sealed container that is removed from the premises at least once per day. These disposal containers should be kept away from children and out of their reach. They should be cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis.
  • All staff should be fully trained and briefed in nappy changing and infection control.
  • The procedure for nappy changing should be displayed prominently in all changing areas. This procedure should contain the above points. It should also note the frequency with which children are changed and include guidelines on how staff are to interact with children around changing. Ensure staff who change nappies are not involved in food preparation. The procedure should also set out where supplies are stored, how children are changed, how records of nappy changing are kept, and how staff should clean the room and store soiled nappies.

Further information for developing your Nappy Changing Policy can be found in the document Management of Infectious Disease in Childcare Facilities and Other Childcare Settings. Following these steps can help to prevent the spread of infection.

 

Infection Control and Staff Considerations

At this time of year, services may see an increase in colds and flu as well as other infectious diseases, not just in children but also staff. The HSE reports that there have been 545 flu-related hospital admissions since the beginning of flu season and the rate of admissions continues to increase.

It is therefore important that early learning and care services have clear policies in place to deal with the occurrence of infectious illnesses. Staff should be aware of their role in preventing and controlling the spread of infection. Staff should be mindful not to put themselves or others at risk; particularly vulnerable people such as children attending the service or colleagues who may be more susceptible to infection. To that end, making sure there is a clear Infection Control Policy in place and that staff are aware of it, and that staff have been trained in established hygiene practices, should reduce the risk of infection spreading.

While it may seem counterintuitive, staff should be discouraged from attending work if they have an infectious illness. Managers should inform staff that they are not under pressure to work when they are ill, as this could lead to longer-term health issues. The 48-hour exclusion period following vomiting/diarrhoea applies to staff as well as children.

Now would be a good time to review your Absence (sick leave) Policy and ensure that it is followed from day one of the absence. Managers should also be mindful that some employees may unfortunately use this as an opportunity to abuse the Absence Policy. Don’t be afraid to address such issues with staff members if you feel the Policy is being abused or notice specific trends.

Finally, take time now to review your relief panel. You should ensure everything is up-to-date for relief staff, including Garda Vetting and contracts. Double check that references are on file for relief staff, along with details of qualifications. It would also be good idea to check the availability of your relief staff, should you have a need to call on them.

 

Question of the Week

Is there a qualification requirement for staff working in a school-aged childcare facility?
Currently, the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018 does not outline a qualification requirement for staff in school-aged childcare facilities. However, it is anticipated that a qualification requirement will be put in place in the future.

 

Final Call for Focus Group Participation for Early Years Employer Service

Early Childhood Ireland will be conducting focus groups with members in the coming weeks about our new Early Years Employer Service. We know that employment and HR issues can be difficult for our members to navigate, so we want your feedback to help us ensure that the service will support your needs.  If you are interested in participating in a focus group, please fill in the form below. We will set up focus groups in areas where there is a high level of interest from members.

[cforms name=”EYES Focus Groups Form”]

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