Transport of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 by patient transport service/taxi
Vehicles and transport of patients
In order to ensure good routines for transporting people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, dedicated drivers and vehicles should be allocated to these assignments.
Healthcare trusts with agreements on the transport of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are obliged to provide drivers with the necessary basic infection control training.
Any vehicles used should preferably have seats with smooth surfaces that can be easily cleaned, rather than fabric seats.
A patient with confirmed COVID-19 should be transported alone, except for necessary companions.
Always inform the driver that the patient has suspected COVID-19 disease.
During transport, adjust the vehicle's ventilation system / air conditioning unit to avoid air circulation inside the car. Opening the windows is also possible.
Always prepare the following equipment before transport:
- hand disinfectant gel and disinfectant wipes
- face masks
- eye protection
- paper towels
- rubbish bags
When the patient and fellow passengers use a face mask
The general rule is that a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 disease shall use a face mask during patient transport.
Passengers (both the patient and companion) shall use a face mask throughout the journey and perform hand hygiene before entering the car.
The driver does not then need to use protective equipment.
The driver should open and close the vehicle doors so that the patient can avoid touching contact surfaces as much as possible when entering and leaving the vehicle, and during the journey.
When the patient cannot wear a face mask
Where possible, the patient should hold a paper tissue in front of the nose and mouth.
The driver must then use the following protective equipment:
- Surgical face mask (type I)
- Disposable gloves
- Appropriate eye protection
When neither patient, passengers nor driver are wearing protective gear
As a general rule, protective equipment shall be used by either the patient or the driver.
If this is not possible:
- Do not use ordinary cars (5-7 seats). This is based on an assessment that the distance between the driver and passengers will be too small to prevent transmission.
- Use a bus, minibus or other vehicle where the distance between driver and passenger is more than 2 metres. As a general rule, no more than one passenger should be transported at a time, in addition to a companion (if required).
- Keep a distance of 2 metres between the driver and passengers when entering and leaving the vehicle.
When the patient needs assistance
The need for assistance and the need for mobility aids such as a walking frame or wheelchair shall be clarified when ordering transport.
Where possible, any need for assistance should be handled by the companion.
If the companion cannot provide assistance, the driver shall ensure that the patient is wearing a face mask and performs hand hygiene with soap and water or disinfectant before giving assistance.
There is no need to clean the entire car after transport of a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
The following routines apply:
- After each passenger journey, perform targeted cleaning with disinfectant alcohol (disinfectant wipes with 70 % alcohol) on all the smooth surfaces that the passenger may have touched, such as door handles, the seat and seat belt (when the patient has used a face mask). If the patient did not use a face mask, wipe the back of the seat in front of where they sat.
- If bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, or vomit are spilt in the vehicle, the driver can contact the healthcare trust/authority to arrange for the vehicle to be cleaned.
Alternatively, the driver can
- Wear a face mask, eye protection and gloves
- Wipe up spills using paper towels
- Wipe the area with disinfectant wipes
- Dispose of the rubbish bag with general household waste
Use gloves for disinfection / cleaning. Perform hand hygiene before and after using them.
Clothing, luggage, walking frames and other belongings are assumed to cause little contamination in a vehicle. It is therefore not necessary to clean the luggage compartments, but perform hand hygiene after handling these items.
Disposable cleaning equipment and gloves can be thrown away with normal household waste.