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COVID-19: personal assistants

Find information and guidance for people working as personal assistants directly employed by the person they are supporting. 

  • Your rights if your hours are cut or you’re 'laid off' ⇨ Find out more
  • What parents and carers need to know about school closures ⇨ Find out more.
  • New life assurance scheme - The families of health and care workers (including PAs) on the frontline in England will benefit from a new life assurance scheme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read the press release.
  • Personal Protective Equipment - Public Health England have published additional guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for care workers delivering homecare (domiciliary care) during sustained COVID-19 transmission. This guidance explains how PPE guidance applies to the homecare (domiciliary care) setting and is drawn from full infection prevention and control and PPE guidance.

Information on testing has been updated. Now anyone living in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, can ask for a test through the NHS website.

⇨ Ask for a test

As essential workers, personal assistants can apply for priority testing through GOV.UK by following the guidance on testing for essential workers.

⇨ Arrange a test for a PA

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible, how to get tested and the testing process.
⇨ See guidance

Guidance from Public Health England This guidance contains information on personal protective equipment (PPE), and infection prevention and control (IPC) 
⇨  See guidance

  • Guidance on the use of PPE:
    A video has been designed to be less clinical and easier to understand than other health related PPE videos. It is for care workers working in a care home, but may be useful for PAs and family members.
    ⇨ Watch the video.

  • PPE supplies:
    If your existing direct payment contains funding to purchase PPE for your PA, you should continue to use that funding to purchase PPE. If you, or your PA, cannot obtain PPE in this way, or your direct payment is not set up to fund PPE, you should ask for assistance from the local authority or CCG that provides your direct payment who should help you to get the PPE you require.

  • Mark Bates Ltd The Home of Premier has created a guide in relation to PPE.
    ⇨ Download the PPE guide from Mark Bates.

  • Press release:
    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 for a three-month period.
     Read the Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costs press release.
  • Guidance relating to visiting people in hospitals has been updated. PAs can accompany patients where appropriate and necessary to assist with the patient’s communication and/or to meet the patient’s health or social care needs

    ⇨ See guidance

  • E-learning for Healthcare:
    Health Education England (HEE) e-LfH has created an e-learning programme in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic that is free to access, without logging in, for the entire UK health and care workforce.
    ⇨ Access the course.
Workers wellbeing audit:
It's clear that staff who support people with disabilities and who work in social care, in general, are facing increased challenges and stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Control is hosting an audit to get a baseline understanding of the 'current' wellbeing of staff. If you are aged 18 or over, live and work with adults with a disability, you can take part.
⇨ Find out more and take the survey

Write a blog for Skills for Care:
Employers across social care and health are sharing their stories during the pandemic. If you’d like to write an article or blog for Skills for Care, please email PA.Framework@skillsforcare.org.uk with a summary of what you’d like to talk about and share with others.
Skills for Care has identified training that remains a priority during this period. This includes working with our endorsed providers who are delivering training. PAs can access this training, but you should discuss this with your employer first, who should contact the learning provider to make sure the training course would be suitable.
⇨  Read more.
  • Key worker letter
    Discuss this with your employer to find out how they can support you in your role as a key worker.
    ⇨ Download template.
  • Our Frontline:
    As PAs you put yourself at physical risk as you form our frontline against the coronavirus. You are also putting your mental health under pressure. To make sure you get the right support, both now and in the future, Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text, from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health. Our Frontline is a partnership between Shout, Samaritans, Mind, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
    ⇨ Find out more 

    Keeping in touch via video apps:
    The Evening Standard has produced a list of the eight video messaging apps to download if you are self-isolating.
    ⇨  Watch the videos.
  • MARCH network
    A mental health network focused on the power of bringing people together with social, cultural and community assets has shared some home-based, creative ways to support mental health during these unique and uncertain times.
    ⇨  Find out more

 

Skills for Care have also developed dedicated COVID-19 webpages covering all areas of the adult health care sector should you need it, access the pages.

We're sharing feedback with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England & Improvement 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 PA.Framework@skillsforcare.org.uk.