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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. 

  • Guidance for care staff who are supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults
    During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been updated.
    ⇨ See the latest guidance

  • Guidance for people receiving direct payments 
    ⇨ See guidance
  • 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.

  • Self-isolating after returning to the UK: your employment rights - Guidance for workers and employers on self-isolating after returning to the UK.
    ⇨ Find out more.

  • Supporting people outside of their home - This guidance is for people who need support outside their home and people who provide this support.
    ⇨ Find out more.

  • What to do if you are employed and you cannot work
    Guidance for people who are employed and cannot work due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
    ⇨ Find out more.

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

  • How to work safely as a home carer:
    Although designed for care providers, these illustrated guides from Public Health England may be helpful to support your PAs with putting on and taking off PPE.

    ⇨ Putting on personal protective equipment (PPE).
    ⇨ Taking off personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • What PPE to wear and when – an illustrative guide:
    This guide from Public Health England is designed for community health and social care settings, will also be helpful for employers and PAs.
    ⇨  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.

  • 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.

  • COVID-19 guide for care staff supporting adults with learning disabilities or autistic adults
    This guide from SCIE is to help care staff and personal assistants supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults through the COVID-19 crisis.
    ⇨ See the guidance 

This guide from SCIE is to help care staff and personal assistants supporting Antibody testing is now available across England and is being provided free of charge to anyone employed in adult social care. Personal assistants who provide for the care and support needs of adults are eligible, as are staff working in residential care, domiciliary care, extra care, supported living, and local authority adult social care departments.

  • What does the test do?
    The antibody test is a voluntary blood test which detects antibodies to the COVID-19 virus to see if you have previously had the virus.

    This test does not tell you if you currently have COVID-19. If you currently have symptoms or have been advised to take a COVID-19 test, please follow this link and please do not take an antibody test at this time.
  • Why take the test?
    Results of the antibody test will support academic research studies across the UK that will help us better understand COVID-19 and how it has spread.  
  • What does the test tell me?
    An antibody test result can only tell you whether or not you have had the virus in the past and developed antibodies.

    Our understanding of the body’s immune response to the virus is limited, and we do not currently know how long an antibody response lasts, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot transmit the virus to others. Therefore, regardless of the result of an antibody test, individuals must continue to comply with government guidelines, including wearing PPE and social distancing.
  • How do I take the test?
    To sign up for an antibody test - register on the online portal.

    You may already have seen that antibody testing is available for adult social care staff through local NHS sites. We are now also launching a new at-home antibody test which provides an additional route to access an antibody test, giving you greater flexibility and choice. You should only take one version of the test.⚠️ Please do not take a test if you currently have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Protect yourself and others from the virus
    Regardless of your antibody test result you must continue to follow the same guidelines as everyone else to protect yourself and others from the virus. For example:
    • wash your hands often
    • follow social distancing and PPE advice
    • follow any local lockdown restrictions in your area
    • self-isolate and get tested if you (or someone you live with) get symptoms, or you are advised to by NHS Test and Trace
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

All frontline health and social care workers should get the winter flu vaccination - including all Personal Assistants (PAs). For the first time, this year, PAs will be able to access the vaccine free of charge from GPs and community pharmacies, via the NHS Complementary Scheme. This vaccination is available now. (Local availability may vary).

To access the scheme, your PAs will simply need to attend a GP surgery or community pharmacy and identify themselves as a PA. However, we are aware that individuals have been asked to provide proof in the past and we have therefore provided a letter that can be used for identification.

The process for PAs to access the flu vaccination, is as follows:

  1. Print the 'Letter of entitlement'
  2. You as your PA’s employer should fill out this letter, to prove you employ the PA. Give it to your PA. This will act as their ‘letter of entitlement’ to the vaccination.
  3. They will then need to visit their local GP or community pharmacist, who will be able to give them the flu vaccination. If they need to prove their entitlement, they can use the letter of entitlement.
  4. The vaccination will then be given to them, free of charge.
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 with a summary of what you’d like to talk about and share with others.


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