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Putting quality first to win the fight against Covid

The start of the Covid pandemic in 2020 brought care home infection control into focus like never before. Protecting residents from this deadly virus was to become a hard-fought battle for everyone working in the sector. Whilst no care home would emerge from the pandemic completely unscathed, some fared better than most. CareHomeLife client HICA Group has maintained an exceptional record for keeping Covid cases to a minimum across all their 18 homes. We spoke with Martin Derham, HICA Group Head of Estates & Facilities, Health & Safety, to learn how the group’s ‘quality-first’ approach to procurement helps them reduce risk, improve efficiency and focus on delivering the best possible care for their residents.

Mission possible?

In 2020, as the care sector came to terms with the scale of the threat posed by Covid, Martin & the Senior Management Team quickly realised that prevention was the only possible way to help protect residents and staff from the virus. The key to preventing Covid spreading by touching infected surfaces lay in rigorous cleaning and disinfection regimes.

With a new awareness of coronaviruses, Martin discovered that the cleaning and disinfectant products HICA was currently using in its homes did not meet the required EN standards for killing the SARS virus.

“The virus was spreading fast and particularly virulent at that time. We were using our housekeeping supplier’s own-brand products and I wasn’t happy to find that they didn’t kill Covid,” explains Martin. “Our main priority now was to source alternative, better-performing, ‘trusted’ brand products that would kill coronavirus.

“CareHomeLife were already a supplier to one of our homes, so I approached them to see what they could do. They got straight to the task, working with P&G Professional on HICA’s behalf, and came back with a housekeeping infection control system that would help us fight Covid in our homes.

“CareHomeLife didn’t just supply the products to us though. They came in and trained all our staff how to use the new system properly and, after a successful trial in one facility, we were confident to roll it out across all 18 HICA homes.”


The CareHomeLife Flash Professional Cleaning System is a multi-purpose cleaning system that uses just four products to cover all of a care home’s core cleaning needs: floors, surfaces, bathrooms and odours. Accurate wall-mounted dispensing systems ensure products are used and diluted correctly by cleaning staff, every time. The super-concentrated Flash products have a reduced contact time, effectively killing coronaviruses and 99.9% of bacteria in 15 seconds.

“Having the right products can make a measurable difference to the massive task of keeping a care home clean,” says CareHomeLife Account Manager Isis Grady. “Auto-dosing systems reduce any risk of the housekeeper not using the product effectively and also cuts costs as much less product will be used. Using less product also means less waste, which is another positive for homes who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”


Covid Healthcare Heroes

Armed with the right tools for the job of fighting Covid, HICA Group homes took infection control measures to the next level, keeping cases to a minimum and avoiding the devastation that befell many homes.

As an example, the team at HICA’s Overton House in Humberside won praise from the local authority and a Covid Healthcare Heroes Award for staying infection-free throughout the height of the pandemic.

“Overton House’s success was due in no small part to the dedication of the Manager, Margaret Walker, to double-down on their approach to keeping Covid out,” says Martin. “They went above and beyond to both minimise the risks of people bringing Covid in and to stop the virus spreading through contact with surfaces. A major part of this was making sure all staff were properly trained to implement a strict cleaning regime using the new CareHomeLife P&G system.”

The training is amazing!

Staff training is a key component of CareHomeLife’s cleaning and other systems and was essential to ensuring a successful transition to the new products and processes. The quality and rigour of the training is an area where CareHomeLife really stands out to Martin.

“Over the last 6-7 months, we’ve been introducing the CareHomeLife Laundry System into our homes,” says Martin. “As part of the rollout, CareHomeLife delivered a comprehensive on-site training programme to make sure every single member of our laundry teams knew how to use the new chemicals and technology. We’ve had brilliant feedback from our Housekeeping teams, and I know from experience the training they provide is amazing!”

More than a supplier – it’s a partnership

Martin manages lots of group contracts for all aspects of running a care home, dealing with various suppliers in all categories. Thanks in no small part to the support CareHomeLife provided during the pandemic, he ranks them as one of the best organisations that HICA group works with.

“CareHomeLife have been there for us, whatever. I leaned on them heavily in Covid and they always delivered. What makes our relationship so valuable is their ability to assess what you need and respond with a solution that works for your homes.

“They provide exceptional value, offering top-notch, branded products at very good prices. But price is never our main concern. ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ is a dangerous strategy; we simply can’t afford to use second-rate products in our care homes.

“CareHomeLife are a true supplier partner whose commitment to quality and service help make it possible for HICA Group to deliver exceptional care for our residents.”

If you’re looking for a proactive supplier partner to help you achieve your priorities, get in touch. Our care home essentials specialists will show you how you can improve performance and cut costs in your care home, while reducing your impact on the planet.