COVID-19: Guidance from other agencies

This page will be regularly updated with the latest guidance to support the adult social care sector during this challenging period. 

COVID-19: Adult social care action plan

The government have published its COVID-19 adult social care action plan setting out how it will support the adult social care sector and workforce in England. It sets out the government’s plan for:

  • controlling the spread of infection in care settings
  • supporting the workforce
  • supporting independence, supporting people at the end of their lives, and responding to individual needs
  • supporting local authorities and the providers of care.

The plan applies to all settings and contexts in which people receive adult social care. This includes people’s own homes, residential care homes and nursing homes, and other community settings. It applies to people with direct payments and personal budgets, and those who fund their own care.


 

  • £600 million care home support package: Last week the Government announced a new care home support package backed by a £600 million adult social care infection control fund to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in care homes. The guidance includes information on infection prevention and control, NHS clinical support, testing, building the workforce and details on the funding. Read the guidance here

  • Symptoms of COVID-19: the Government recently added the loss of, or change to, sense of smell or taste along with new continuous cough and/or high temperature. Read the guidance here.

  • New Care Workforce COVID-19 app: The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has a launched the Care Workforce COVID-19 app for adult social care workers. Through the app you can:

    • get information and advice, all in one digital hub
    • swap learning and ideas with colleagues and across the country
    • show how care workers can take advantage of offers including free car parking and discounts
    • access practical resources on looking after your own health and wellbeing.

    Search ‘Care Workforce’ for the free app on the Apple App Store, on the Google Play Store or through the web-platform here.

  • COVID-19 testing for social care staff: The Government have now announced that due to further expansion of testing availability, all NHS staff, care home staff and care home residents will be eligible for testing, with or without symptoms of COVID-19. There are various ways you can arrange testing including regional drive through sites, home testing and mobile testing units. More information and all updates can be found here

  • Government launches new portal for care homes to arrange COVID-19 testing: the new online portal allows care homes to apply for testing kits to be delivered to test their residents and staff. Care homes can apply whether any of the residents or staff have COVID-19 symptoms or not.All care home staff and residents are now eligible for testing with priority for those in homes that look after the over-65s.

  • COVID-19 guidance for people receiving direct payments: this Government guidance is for those people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support. The guidance was published on 21 April 2020, but has recently been updated with more information on PPE and the responsibility for paying for PPE. Read the guidance here

  • COVID-19 guidance for the health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce: this newly published guidance is for anyone who works in adult social care. It provides advice on how individuals can manage their own personal mental health in the current circumstances and also provides adult social care employers with guidance, tools and advice on how to take care of the wellbeing of their staff at work. Read the guidance.
  • The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy: this document describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus. It outlines aims, approach to a phased recovery and a roadmap to lifting restrictions step-by-step. Section 5 gives the Government’s approach to this within the adult social care sector. Read the document.
  • Death in service benefit for frontline health and social care staff: the Government have announced that staff who are performing vital frontline NHS or social care work during the COVID-19 outbreak, may be eligible for a life assurance scheme. If they meet the qualifying work-related criteria for the scheme and die due to COVID-19, a lump sum payment of £60,000 will be made to their estate.  Read more here

  • Register for the NHS Capacity Tracker : The COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements guidance requires care homes, NHS community hospital beds and hospice beds to be recorded on the Capacity Tracker.  Providers of care homes must register and update it regularly to ensure a clear understanding, locally and nationally, of bed capacity and other business information. 

  • Social care provider resilience during COVID-19 - guidance to commissioners: Social care providers might find this guidance useful it picks up on points that we know are a concern - see guidance.

 

Guidance on how to work safely in care homes [UPDATED 27 April 2020]

The Government have produced guidance for those working in care homes, providing information on working safely during this period of COVID-19. The guidance includes:

  • PPE recommendations for care home staff
  • FAQs on the use of PPE in care homes
  • care workers flowchart to help identify whether there is a need for PPE
  • examples to help identify the correct use of PPE when undertaking different activities.

Read the government guidance 


Advanced care planning

Some provider organisations are concerned about pressure being exerted to ensure that all the people in their care have advanced care planning in place and blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ orders.

joint statement by the Care Provider Alliance, Care Quality Commission, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association makes it clear that advance care planning should be personalised and must not be applied to groups of people.

It’s very important that the wishes of people are respected, taking into account their capacity to make decisions, and unnecessary distress is avoided.

The Resuscitation Council has published some FAQs on ReSPECT (Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment) and a Quick Guide for Social Care is available from NICE.


Guidance for care staff supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults

This guidance help care staff and personal assistants to keep people with learning disabilities and autistic people safe, support them to understand the changes they need to make during the COVID-19 outbreak and protect their own wellbeingRead the guidance here.


Guidance on looking after people who lack mental capacity

This emergency guidance is for health and social care staff in England and Wales who are caring for, or treating, a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read the guidance.


Guidance on hospital discharge service requirements [UPDATED 13 May 2020]

This guidance sets out how health and care systems and providers should change their discharging arrangements and the provision of community support during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

The update on 20 April was a note to say that the guidance is being reviewed following publication of the COVID-19 adult social care action plan.

Read the guidance.


Guidance on how to work safely in domiciliary care

The Government has produced some guidance for those working in domiciliary care providing information on the use of PPE. The guidance is primarily for care workers and providers delivering care in the following settings:

  • visiting homecare
  • extra care housing
  • live-in homecare.

Read the guidance here.


COVID-19 guidance on reuse of medicines in a care home or hospice 

This guidance details how to run a safe and effective medicines reuse scheme in a care home or hospice during the COVID-19 outbreak.  It gives details about using medicines labelled for one patient who no longer needs them for another patient. 

Read the guidance here


COVID-19 Stay at Home guidance 

This guidance is for households with a possible COVID-19 infection clearly explains how long you and your household must stay at home, how to reduce the spread of infection in your home and what you can do to get better. 

Read the guidance here


Guidance for unpaid carers

This guidance is for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.


Free parking

The Government have published guidance and terms of use for the parking pass and concessions for COVID-19 health, care and volunteer workers. This guidance describes the terms of use around the government’s free council car parking scheme for NHS workers, social care workers and NHS Volunteer Responders.


COVID-19 Verifying death in time of emergency

This guidance is designed to clarify existing practice for the verification of death outside of hospitals and to provide a framework for safe verification of death during the COVID-19 emergency period.  Read the guidance here


COVID-19 guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable - [UPDATED 5 May]

The Government has issued guidance on shielding for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers.

It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support.


Critical Care COVID-19 Communication Chart

This symbol board was created by Widgit to help medical staff communicate quickly and easily with patients who are critically ill due to COVID-19.

The board includes symbols for immediate care needs as well as messages that patients may want to pass to family members and can be used even if the patient is being ventilated or has a tracheostomy (but is alert).

More information and download the board


RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19

HSE have published information about RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) and the reporting of COVID-19.

This information provides registered managers guidance on completing a RIDDOR report when staff may have contracted COVID-19 at work. 


 

 

The DHSC framework offers guidance on ethical considerations for local authorities and adult social care professionals planning their COVID-19 response.

It’s aimed at planners and strategic policy makers at local, regional and national level to support planning and organisation of adult social care in response to COVID-19.

Download the framework.

CQC launches emergency support framework

It provides a structured framework for the regular conversations that inspectors are having with providers and covers the following four areas:

  • Safe care and treatment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Protection from abuse
  • Assurance processes, monitoring, and risk management

Read more here


Registration with CQC and changes to statements of purpose during COVID-19

The CQC have developed information for those making an application to change their statement of purpose to meet the demands of COVID-19 by increasing capacity or seeking temporary change of use.

Find out more
.


CQC interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks

The CQC have published some guidance for providers recruiting staff and volunteers to health and social care services in response to COVID-19.

Download guidance.


Delegating medicines administration

CQC - updated guidance on delegating medicines administration for care workers.

Find out more


CQC regulation to notify the death of a person using services

The notification form for the death of a person using your service, has been updated to include COVID-19 as a cause of death.

Find out more and access the form.  

DBS - Factsheets, updated guidelines and news stories related to DBS and COVID-19

As the sector is urgently recruit staff and volunteers the DBS have put in place temporary arrangements to help this process which will enable:

  • Updated ID checking guidelines to limit face-to-face contact including documents to be viewed over a video link and scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted. 
  • See updated guidance around temporary arrangements for free of charge DBS checks and fast track Barred List check service - [updated 15 April]

Find out more


Guidance on key workers

The government has produced Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision which defines who a key worker is. 

Information for individual employers and their personal assistants

The DHSC confirm that personal assistants (PAs) are included in the definition of key workers. If your PA is being challenged they should follow the steps below:

  • contact their direct payment provider (for example their local authority or care commissioning group) to ask if they have a letter or something that validates the PA is a key worker and can share with their child(ren)'s school
  • provide the school with a copy of their contract of employment.

Want more Information on PAs?
Access our information hub for individual employers and PAs, where they can find our Being a PA guide and a useful YouTube video

 

COVID-19: rapid care technology deployment tool

This practical guide has been developed in collaboration with those leading care technology responses to COVID-19 in councils. It outlines common challenges councils are facing and offers some potential care technology responses.   More information


COVID-19: Quick Access to NHSmail

Secure communication between health and social care services is more important than ever due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. A fast track roll out of NHSMail is available to the care sector, without the need to complete the Data Security and Protection Toolkit. 

Register today


Helpline launched to provide digital support to social care providers

Digital Social Care has set up a new helpline to support the adult social care sector with harnessing technology during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Their team of digital experts are available to help providers access practical advice to troubleshoot a technical problem or give in-depth one-to-one support.

The helpline is available:

Monday – Friday 9.00-17.00
Tel: 0208 133 3430 
Email: help@digitalsocialcare.co.uk


Catalyst 

Catalyst is a charitable collective of digital agencies who are focusing on helping companies respond to the challenges of COVID-19 using digital technology. They have lots of useful resources including advice on remote working and video conferencing.

Download the remote working guide


Digital Candle

Digital Candle is a crowd-sourced advice platform for charities. They  introduce people at charities who need digital assistance, to experts who can help. 

A free one hour of digital guidance for charities is available. To receive your free hour you will need to book a call  to tell them what your needs and they will assign a digital expert to help you.


Article: Your Work from Home Self Care Guide

A practical article with advice on working from home and video-conferencing from Entrepreneur.com 

Read the article

 

The Apprenticeship programme response to COVID-19 - [updated 24 April 2020]

The government have published The Apprenticeship Programme response to COVID-19 to support providers, employers and apprentices and outline new policy changes and flexibilities. The Education and Skills Funding Agency are working to ensure that apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any breaks taken as a result of COVID-19.

The guidance provides information on:

  • applying the policy on breaks in learning

  • delays to end-point assessment (EPA); and

  • alternative arrangements for EPA and external quality assurance.

  • introducing flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education have also published guidance on the delivery of assessment at guidance on the delivery of assessment which will be updated regularly.


Free access to COVID-19 eLearning programme

Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare have created a free eLearning programme available to all staff across health and social care.

The programme includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to COVID-19 including essential guidance from the NHS, Government and WHO, infection prevention and control, personal protection equipment and more. 

Access the eLearning  


The Skills Toolkit

The Government have launched a new online learning platform called The Skills Toolkit offering free, high quality courses to boost your skills in digital and numeracy.

These are the skills which are highly valued by employers and sought after in a wide range of jobs. With more people expected to be working and studying remotely in the coming months, the platform offers a great opportunity to learn new skills to help to get ahead online and gain the knowledge we’ll all need for the future. The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home

Take a look 

Financial support available for businesses because of COVID-19

Application process - now opened for employers

Employers can claim 80% of their employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if they have been put on furlough because of COVID-19.

Check if you are eligible to claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and how much you can claim to cover wages for furloughed staff.

The Government have also issued information about financial support available for businesses during COVID-19 including claiming back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to COVID-19.

Managing COVID‑19 symptoms for patients in the community, including at the end of life [UPDATED 30 April 2020]

This guidance provides recommendations for managing COVID‑19 symptoms for patients in the community, including at the end of life. It also covers recommendations about managing medicines for these patients, and protecting staff from infection.

Download guidance.


Caring for a dying relative at home with COVID-19

Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and palliative care. They have produced some guidance to support people who are caring for someone who is dying at home from COVID-19. It includes practical tips for home care, what to do when the person is not responding and when they have died. There are also lots of links to other information and useful websites.

Read the guidance

UPDATED: COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plan and guidance

The COVID-19 PPE plan was updated on 15 April 2020 and details the government’s plan around guidance, distribution and future supply. There is also some updated guidance on the use of PPE as of 3 May 2020. 


Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costs

From 1 May 2020, PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against COVID-19 will be free from VAT. This will be for a 3 month period until 31 July 2020. Read more here.


 

Infection prevention and control - [updated 3 May 2020]

This guidance outlines the infection prevention and control advice for health and social care providers involved in receiving, assessing and caring for patients who are a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Download guidance


Guidance on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) precautions for patients remaining in hospital, or being discharged home or residential care 

The government have released guidance which provides advice on appropriate IPC precautions for patients recovering or recovered from COVID-19 and remaining in hospital, or being discharged to their own home or residential care.


 

Coronavirus: infection prevention and control in care homes

This recording (3 April 2020) from Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement colleagues in the South East covers protecting yourself and others, PPE, how to isolate residents and caring for those at risk of Covid-19.  

Covid and care home settings from Skills for Care on Vimeo.

Find out more about infection prevention and control.


Infection Prevention and Control Q&A Session

This Q&A session will give you information and guidance on a range of issues and queries raised by those attending and some submitted in advance. The recording is applicable for all Registered Managers and IPC leads in all services.

Duration 1 hour 

Q&A for Care Homes on use of PPE and IPCSkills for Care on Vimeo.

Find out more about infection prevention and control.


Coronavirus: infection prevention and control in domiciliary care

This recording (April 20) from Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement colleagues in the South East specifically looks at responding to COVID-19 issues for the domiciliary care sector and other care at home environments. It covers the key principles of reducing the spread of COVID-19, understanding how and when to use personal protective clothing, and the changes that you and staff need to make to your daily work.

Duration 1 hour 

Coronavirus: infection prevention and control in domiciliary care from Skills for Care on Vimeo.


Guidance for safe handling of the deceased - [updated 15 May 2020]

Developed to assist care staff who manage the bodies of deceased persons who have suffered from COVID-19.

Updated to include thenresidual risk of infection from the deceased and the use of body bags, and the use of PPE for those who are responsible for care of the deceased.

See full guidance 


Video: Putting on and removing PPE

This video from Public Health England, shows how to safely put on and take off the Personal Protective Equipment when caring for people with symptoms of COVID-19. 

Other useful information 

  • Alzheimers Society has some really useful information and guidance around supporting people with dementia during bereavement.

  • SCIE: COVID-19 guidance for adult social care including safeguarding, infection control and information for families and carers of people with dementia at the end of life. The website also contains a quick guide to help carers better support those living with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Cruse Bereavement Care: offer support, advice and information when someone dies. They have lots of resources to help deal with grief and bereavement including coping with grieving in isolation, dealing with your own and others emotions and more practical advice around funerals and planning.

  • UNISON have produced some really useful FAQs for care workers, including residential, homecare and community care for both adults and children. It provides advice in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • Hi-VisUK provides information and resources designed to help those supporting or caring for an older person with Dual Sensory Impairment (DSI) during the COVID-19 emergency.  The information includes guides and free online learning that will help you quickly understand the impacts of DSI and the extra challenges brought about by the COVID-19 emergency of keeping everyone safe and still having effective communication
  • Voiceability have produced an easy to read Q&A style guide on the roles and rights of advocates. The guide (produced on 16 April 2020) provides information to ensure people get access to advocacy they need and are entitled to, during the COVID-19 emergency
  • Digital Social Care have published lots of guidance and advice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic  on how technology can be used to support staff and the people you support.
  • NICE is supporting the NHS and social care by developing a series of rapid guidelines on caring for patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 infection, including at the end of life. It also includes recommendations about managing medicines for these patients, and protecting staff from infection.

  • British Geriatrics Society have published some advice around managing delirium in confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases due to lots of their members having difficulty in managing patients in this situation.

Share your COVID-19 challenges

We're sharing feedback with the Department of Health and Social Care on the challenges many of you are facing, so that where possible they can be picked up in future guidance. If there’s a specific problem you don’t know how to deal with, please get in touch at marketing@skillsforcare.org.uk and we’ll work out how we can support you.