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. 

Updated Government Guidance on how to work safely in care homes and in domiciliary (home) care

The Government has published updated guidance documents on how to work safely in care homes and domiciliary (home) care during the COVID-19 pandemic. All necessary recommendations from the COVID-19 personal protective equipment guidance have been applied in these documents.  

Both sets of guidance include: 

  • Updated guidance on when to use PPE and what PPE is required in different situations.
  • An expanded FAQs section with additional information and questions.
  • A section on working with people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
  • Guides to putting on and taking off PPE.

COVID-19: how to work safely in care homes 

COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care  

Specific guidance for shared lives, extra care and supported living has been included in the following document COVID-19: provision of home care.

 


  • Guidance for visiting arrangements in care homes: The Government has published care home visiting guidance which will help providers establish their visiting policy and approach to care home visiting arrangements and communication with relatives. Read the guidance

  • Principles for safely welcoming visitors back to care settings: The Care Provider Alliance have developed guidance for care providers around how to allow visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides information around how this can work along with the rights and responsibilities of care providers and visitors. It looks at ideas such as window visits, garden visits, drive-through visits, in-room visits and setting up designated areas. Read the guidance

  • NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace: Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers. Read the latest updated guidance

  • COVID-19 care homes study report: The results are based on analysis of the survey responses from 5,126 out of 9,081 care homes for the over 65s in England. Read the results here

  • Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. The final date by which an employer can place an employee on furlough is 10 June - take a look and make sure you are aware of the changes to the scheme and dates.
  • £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

    • A further document has been produced in response to questions received from local government and care providers which set out the infection control measures that the £600 million IFC will support including information on the distribution of funds and reporting requirements. 
  • Updated: COVID-19 guidance on shielding: The guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have been shielding has been updated. The government have set out a series of steps relaxing the shielding guidance which will come into effect on 6 July and 1 August. Find out more about the changes 

  • 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..
  • 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 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. Updated on 10 June 2020. 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.
  • 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.

 

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.


COVID-19: admission and care of people in care homes

This guidance has been updated throughout in line with the care homes support package and the latest advice on testing, and infection prevention and control.

Read the full guidance here


Guidance following a COVID-19 related death of an employee in adult social care

This guidance sets out what steps local authorities and social care providers need to take following a COVID-19 related death of an employee or volunteer. It also includes bereavement resources for the social care workforce.

Read the guidance


COVID-19: reducing risk in adult social care settings

This guidance is for anyone who employs people who work in adult social care and provides a framework for how you should asses and support members of your workforce who may be at an increased risk from COVID-19. It covers the risk assessment process, measures you can put in place across the workforce and for individuals and how to have conversations with workers who are identified as being at increased risk.

Read the 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.


COVID-19: Management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings [UPDATED 14 June 2020]

Provides advice and guidance on the management of staff and patients or residents in health and social care settings who have been exposed to COVID-19. It includes:

  • staff with symptoms of COVID-19
  • staff return to work criteria
  • patient exposures in hospital
  • resident exposures in care settings

Read the guidance here.


COVID-19: provision of home care

This refreshed guidance aims to answer frequently asked questions from registered providers, social care staff, local authorities and commissioners who support and deliver care to people in their own homes, including supported living settings, in England. It includes information on PPE, shielding and care groups, hospital discharge and testing and Government support available. Read the guidance here


Home Office extends bereavement scheme to NHS support staff and social care workers

The bereavement scheme initially launched in April for health workers in the NHS and independent health and care sector, has now been extended to the families and dependants of NHS support staff and social care workers who die as a result of contracting COVID-19.

More information can be found here


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.


Informing DHSC of the death of a worker in social care

This guidance covers how local authorities and social care providers can inform DHSC about the death of an employee or volunteer in social care. There’s no legal duty on employers to submit this information to DHSC, but doing so will help to make sure the appropriate steps can be taken following the death of a care worker, including support for employers. Read the guidance here


Guidance on looking after people who lack mental capacity [UPDATED 15 June 2020]

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.

  - Updates have been made to the main guidance attachment, in particular to the 'Emergency public health powers' section and 3 new attachments have been added to the page including a decision-making flowchart for decision makers in hospitals and care homes. 

Read the guidance.


Guidance on hospital discharge service requirements [UPDATED 1 June 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 [UPDATED 13 May 2020]

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.


Internet connection deals for care homes

As a care provider you may need to improve your internet connection to use technology more during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHSX and NHS Digital have been working with telecommunications companies and have published a series of offers available specifically for care homes during the pandemic.

Find out more here


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


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.


COVID-19 Changes to the Care Act 2014

The guidance sets out how local authorities can use the new Care Act provisions, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to prioritise care and support for those who need it most during the COVID-19 outbreak. .

Read the guidance here

Use of Mental Health Act

This guidance concerns the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of the Mental Health Act and supporting systems to safeguard the legal rights of people receiving mental health, learning disability and autism services, including specialised commissioned services.


 

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


CQC publishes first insight document on COVID-19 pressures

The CQC have published an insight document focusing on adult social care. It reviews data on outbreaks, deaths and availability of PPE and highlights the impact of COVID-19 on staff wellbeing and the financial viability of adult social care services.  It also outlines future areas of focus, including infection control both within and between services, how local systems are engaging social care organisations in the management of COVID-19, and how care for people from vulnerable groups is being managed through the crisis. Read the insight document 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

The CQC have produced some updated guidance on delegating medicines administration for care workers.

The CQC have pulled together a page detailing medicines information for adult social care providers which details emergency legislation and changes that are happening due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 


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 2 jUNE 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.


Psychological First Aid training course for frontline staff and volunteers

This free training course has been developed by Public Health England and will be available to frontline workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will allow responders to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by COVID-19 and it will also help to develop an understanding of how emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic can affect us all, how to recognise people who may be at increased risk of distress, and how to offer practical and emotional support. For more information visit the website.


 

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 


 

 

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 20 May 2020. 


PPE portal - how to order emergency personal protective equipment: The portal can be used by social care and primary care providers to order and receive PPE and these include small residential social care providers (24 beds or fewer) and domiciliary social care providers (99 clients or fewer). For more information read the guidance


 

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 21 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.


 

 

COVID-19 testing is available for all essential workers and has been extended to include all care homes and residents. This includes adult care homes for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

There are different routes to arrange testing.  

  • All social care workers with symptoms and personal care assistants and unpaid carers can get tested via a self-referral.  

  • Social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms) can get tested via an employer portal.

  • Care workers and nurses who will be swabbing residents in care homes should complete the online care home swabbing competency assessment before carrying out swabbing.  

  • Testing is also available for someone you live with, if they have symptoms, and you are an essential worker, via a self-referral.  

Self- referrals can be tested at regional drive-through sites, home testing or mobile units. The Government website provides more detail on the routes to get tested, types of test, and has other useful resources such as a video and how to administer them and how your results will be obtained.

The Government introduced a ‘test and trace’ service on 28th May 2020. This service will track the contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and advise them to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to the member of staff contacted: the care worker will have to self-isolate for 14 days, as should their non-work contacts. There is no need for other colleagues to isolate. However, if a care worker has a positive test, the test and trace team will contact them, their co-workers and residents need to be referred to the Health Protection Team. The Health Protection Team will arrange testing of all co-workers and residents. This does not mean that their co-workers will have to self-isolate for 14 days – assuming PPE is being used and was not breached. You can find further guidance on managing exposure (including breaching of PPE) to COVID-19 in health and care settings here.

Further resources:

NHS Test and Trace: How it works

NHS Test and Trace: Workplace guidance

Stay at home guidance

Guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed coronavirus who do not live with the person

How test and testing kits for COVID-19 work: updated on 5 June to include information on antibody tests


 

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.