May 1, 2020
Links to the latest COVID-19 guidance and resources available for the adult social care sector.
New information is being released almost daily for adult social care providers on the coronavirus pandemic. From the correct use of PPE to organisations offering their services for free, we’ve pulled together the information you need.
What’s in this section?
Government guidance and updates
All the latest government guidance and updates for the care sector are included in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult social care guidance section on the GOV.UK website. It includes the up to date guidance and frameworks for care services and safe working during this period.
The adult social care action plan has been released and contains information on how the government intends to support the sector.
There is also a document detailing best practice for admission and care of residents in care homes, which covers:
- Admission of residents.
- Caring for residents, depending on their COVID-19 status.
- Reporting of COVID-19 cases.
- Providing care after death, advice for staff.
- Supporting existing residents that may require hospital care.
- National support available to implement the guidance.
For supported living providers, there is separate guidance on how to continue to offer services and support which includes what to do if someone in a supported living service is suspected of having COVID-19.
Homecare providers have another separate document, covering similar themes, as well as what to do if the individual receiving care isn’t displaying symptoms but a member of their household is.
Information on PPE guidance is further down this page.
Membership bodies for providers
The care sector’s membership bodies are doing excellent work to keep everyone up to date on the latest developments in all areas of coronavirus. There’s a host of information on dedicated webpages at each of the following:
Other useful guidance
The British Geriatrics Society has published a good practice guide in accordance with Government guidance. This has been developed to help care home staff to support residents through the pandemic: COVID-19: Managing the COVID-19 pandemic in care homes for older people
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website has a set of answers to questions asked by both people using adult social care services and those providing services to people: Q&A Coronavirus (COVID-19): Questions and answers for social care
PPE, testing and safety
PPE for care providers
The latest guidance on PPE from Government provides different information for care homes and homecare providers. Some providers are finding there is some confusion arising from this guidance. Work is ongoing to provide clarity.
Technical specifications for PPE can also be found here.
In April, the Government released its plan to ensure PPE is delivered to those on the front line. This included the development of a new website portal for healthcare and social care services to order PPE.
For those who are unable to access PPE supplies, a website called PPE Exchange has been established. This allows providers to submit a request for the PPE they need, which will be added to a national database of PPE requirements. Suppliers can also register to fulfil demand.
Guidance on testing
All frontline workers who request a test should now be able to get one, whether or not they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus. The most recent Government update states that the following groups of people are all eligible for COVID-19 tests:
- All essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms (see the full list of essential workers).
- Anyone aged over 65 who has symptoms.
- Anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers).
- Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above.
- Social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms).
- NHS workers and patients without symptoms, in line with NHS England guidance.
Accessing testing has still been proving difficult, but details on how to request a test are available on the government website. Social care employers can refer to staff members for testing if they are self-isolating.
Guidance on infection control
Government has released a document on infection control and prevention. This is aimed at hospitals, so much of it is not relevant for providers, but aspects of it may be useful. It includes information on the transmission of the virus, and well as how to reduce the risk of transmission.
An article written by Spearhead Healthcare shares some tips for preventing the spread of infection.
Support for providers and staff
Managing mental health
Several charities have a range of information, resources and support for helping people to understand how to deal with worry, depression, grief and anxiety while coronavirus is impacting on our lives. A list of mental health organisations is available here.
Guide for dealing with stress, trauma and death
Care companies may currently be dealing with stress and trauma at a level that they’ve never seen before. While most care professionals will have dealt with death and know that it’s part of the job, COVID-19 has brought a new challenge that is hitting the care sector harder than any other.
As much as people are trained to understand that loss is inevitable, the virus has brought new emotions to many, including feelings of guilt and despair. Many will be struggling but unable to speak up as they know they are needed and must carry on.
Judgement Index have put together a guide as a resource for care companies who may have staff who are coping with grief and stress at this time. The guide also contains information for leaders and family members with tips and suggestions of activities to build a feeling of support in the company.
The guide is free to download and can be printed and shared. We recommend integrating the decompression activities as part of a daily meeting with staff.
Parking pass and concessions
Social care workers have been made entitled to free parking and concessions in council-owned car parks and parking bays. Passes are available from local authorities. More information can be found on the Government website and should be carefully read to avoid confusion.
Car, van and motorcycle MOT expiry dates have been extended by six months for vehicles whose MOT is due on or after 30th March 2020. The extension will be automatic if the vehicle is eligible and will happen just before the expiry date. Vehicles must still be safe to drive and precautions should be taken.
Car rental support
Europcar has made thousands of vehicles available from £5 per day to emergency services staff including social care workers, NHS staff, armed forces, police, paramedics, ambulance workers, fire services and those working in education and childcare.
Staff can book directly by visiting www.europcar.co.uk/emergency-services-uk, by visiting their local rental station or calling the call centre.
Vehicles driven under this scheme will be subject to rigorous cleaning measures after each rental, as well as a ‘zero contact’ policy with employees in stations.
There are a number of care-related organisations that have assembled and created resources during this time to help care homes and providers plan for and deal with coronavirus.
Recruitment tips and templates
Neil Eastwood has shared three documents to help providers with recruitment during coronavirus. These give tips on ways to interview on the phone and on video calls. Download them below.
National Activities Provider Association (NAPA)
To support meaningful engagement for all, NAPA has made its web-based activity resources freely available for all. This includes activity ideas, useful tools and recommended reading. It has also produced a guide to safe activities in care settings which can be downloaded here.
Community Integrated Care
In partnership with the Rugby Football League and Leeds Rhinos Foundation, Community Integrated Care has launched the #ActiveAtHome toolkit.
The #ActiveAtHome project is designed to help everyone keep active and improve their health and fitness in a safe environment during the current climate. The initiative is inclusive to all so anyone can join in no matter the level of fitness.
A new monitoring system free to everyone has been released. This tracks the coronavirus status of each individual being cared for, helps providers check and monitor PPE levels and generates reports to share with other bodies.
Digital Social Care
A dedicated online space for advice and support on technology and data protection, which is currently sharing information on how technology can be used to support staff and people using services.
QCS coronavirus hub
QCS is offering all of its coronavirus policies and information for free. The organisation is processing complex information into digestible updates to make it easier to understand the detail and how it impacts services.
Altura Learning has produced a training video which explains the virus and symptoms of the disease. This course also provides practical demonstrations of hand hygiene, application and removal of PPE and practical strategies to help prepare for and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The course is free of charge, even for non-members. More videos are being added as the pandemic continues.
Person Centred Software is opening up its Relatives Gateway platform to all UK care homes free of charge to help them maintain communication with families during these unprecedented times.
Allowing secure social media style messages and photos to be shared between care home residents and their families, it will also give carers an efficient way to provide wellbeing updates to concerned loved ones. The service now also has video calling function that is compliant with data governance guidelines.
Software provider RemindMe is giving free access to its range of activities to connect care providers with families. Visit the website for more details.
Leecare is providing, free of charge, the P5Mycareplan app to all those using care homes, nursing homes, supported living, domiciliary and other health support services.
The app holds photos staff or clients upload to share with families, but is also linked to over 400 questions people can answer regarding their life preferences, goals, feelings and care wishes, and these link to a summary care plan.
Guidance for family carers
Government has released guidance for family carers who are supporting someone who cannot manage without their help.
Building on the Stay at home guidance and the Guidance on social distancing, the latest information gives tips on what carers can do to ensure they are protecting themselves and the vulnerable people they support. This includes creating an emergency plan, advice for those caring for someone in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ category, what to do if they are worried about visits from homeware workers, accessing alternative care if the family carer is unable to provide support and collecting prescriptions.
The guidance recommends that people speak to care providers about processes they are following to ensure good hygiene and that clients should inform their providers if they are reducing social contact and whether this will affect their care package. Alternative packages may need to be put in place. The full guidance is on the Government website.
Recognising carers and those who they care for know what support is available to them, Carers UK has a dedicated webpage with the current government guidance as it relates to carers and offers suggestions for making plans. It has also answered common questions many carers have been asking on an FAQ page and offer some tailored tips on keeping a positive frame of mind in its Wellbeing Action Plan.
Recognising that caring for somebody who might be vulnerable to coronavirus has its challenges, mobilise care has created a forum for carers to come together for supportive chats to share practical tips and tricks, and sometimes just to vent. Visit the website for more details.