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COVID-19 updates for adult social care and health providers


COVID-19 guidance for Personal Assistants

This page provides guidance on COVID-19 for Personal Assistants (PAs).

If you have any concerns about the clients you support, please contact Adult Social Care.

If you’re a PA with a question about COVID-19 related to your work, please email: PAIPCProtectCovid19@eastsussex.gov.uk

Vaccinations for Personal Assistants

How to book a vaccination

If you are a PA and have not yet been contacted about booking a vaccination, go to the Sussex Health and Care Workforce Vaccination Programme where you will find a booking form.

Once you’ve had the vaccine, there is still a chance you might get or spread coronavirus. It’s vital to keep following the restrictions and rules about social distancing and face coverings, even if you have had the vaccine.

Further advice about vaccination

If you have any questions, use the links below in the first instance:

For general queries, please email sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net but note that this team are unable to book an appointment for you.

COVID-19 testing for Personal Assistants

The government guidance for COVID-19 testing for personal assistants was updated on 9 April 2021.

  • COVID-19 testing for personal assistants has now moved to twice weekly rapid Lateral Flow Testing (LFT), with confirmatory PCR tests for a positive test.
  • The results of all LFT (including positives, negatives and voids) must be registered on GOV.UK.

If a PA tests positive with an LFT they must:

Information and guidance on COVID-19 testing for personal assistants

If you have any queries related to testing, please call the national coronavirus contact centre on 119.

Regular testing of people without symptoms is a useful way to identify positive cases and reduce the risk of onward transmission but testing does not replace the need to use PPE and follow COVID safe working practices.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control

When working with clients, you should always wear PPE to help prevent the spread of covid-19.

The government’s guidance around use of PPE and working safely in domiciliary care was updated on 6 April and may be applicable to some of your duties as a PA.

If you are within 2 metres of a client then plastic aprons, fluid-repellent surgical masks, gloves and eye protection (if there’s a risk of droplets or secretions) are recommended.

You must wash your hands immediately before every episode of care and after any activity or contact that potentially results in your hands becoming contaminated.

Changing PPE

  • New gloves and aprons must be used for each episode of care.
  • Face masks should be single use and disposed of before leaving the client’s home. A new mask should be worn before entering the next client’s home.
  • Eye protection should be a disposable item of PPE or a reusable item used in line with the manufacturers’ guidance.

Disposal of waste and PPE

Waste should be placed in a refuse bag and can be disposed of as normal domestic waste unless the client has confirmed COVID or symptoms of COVID-19, that is, a new continuous cough, a high temperature, a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.

Waste from people with symptoms or confirmed coronavirus, including waste from cleaning areas where they have been (such as disposable cloths and used tissues) and PPE waste from their care:

  • Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when three-quarters full.
  • The waste can be disposed of as normal domestic waste 72 hours later.

Do not put any items of PPE (or face coverings of any kind) in the recycling bin.

Cleaning and laundry

If you undertake cleaning duties, then you should use normal household products, such as washing with detergent and hot water followed by disinfecting with bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned 2 or 3 times a day. If you are cleaning within 2 metres of a client, then you should wear a Type IIR mask, plus the gloves and aprons you normally use for cleaning.

Do not shake laundry before washing. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load. For more information see the Government guidance on laundry.

PPE grant for self-employed Personal Assistants

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is providing financial support to help self-employed Personal Assistants pay for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Applications have now closed for the recent grant to cover PPE costs for 1 April to 30 June 2021.

Information about future grants will be shared as soon as it's available. 

Personal Assistant Infection Control Advisory Project

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how the unregulated social care sector working alone in the community, including the Personal Assistant (PA) workforce, experienced difficulties accessing practical and financial support. The PA Infection Control Advisory Project is as a joint initiative between Adult Social Care (ASC) and Public Health (PH) to upskill PA infection prevention and control (IPC) knowledge to ensure best practice.

Thanks to the success of the project since it began in January 2021, the project has now been extended beyond its initial 12-months until December 2022.

As we continue to move out of the pandemic, the project team’s focus remains on supporting PAs with best practice infection prevention and control advice to support PAs in the community.

The Project Team remain available to contact via our dedicated inbox PAIPCProtectCovid19@eastsussex.gov.uk  

Continue to contact the project team if you want to seek some advice, ask a question, or if you would like a 1:1 conversation around infection control. The team are here to help you!

The team is available:

Monday to Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Fridays 9:00am - 4:30pm.

Project support will include:

  • A dedicated email inbox
  • Advice sessions and risk assessment consultations
  • Information and training toolkit
  • New training courses
  • Virtual workshops

Join the council’s PA database and mailing list

Personal assistants are invited to join our mailing list, which will be used to provide information about infection control and COVID-19.

Support with Confidence PAs do not need to sign up as we already have your details on record.

Email PAIPCProtectCovid19@eastsussex.gov.uk with your contact details: name, address, email address, phone number, employment status (if self-employed /employed) and geographical area of work.

To find out more about how your information will be used, please read our Privacy Notice.

Financial support

Contingency planning

If you have to stop providing care for any reason and your service is essential to the client, you must ensure suitable contingency plans are put in place. If your clients will be left without the vital support they need, you must report this immediately to Health and Social Care Connect.

Personal assistants and individual employers should have contingency plans to ensure that alternative cover arrangements can be put in place immediately.

See: Coronavirus – information for people receiving direct payments for more details.

Should I continue providing care?

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are advised to self-isolate at home, you should not visit or care for individuals until it is safe to do so. You should follow the Stay at home guidance.

If the person you are caring for has symptoms

If the individual you are providing care and support for has symptoms of COVID-19 then you should minimise the risk through safe working practices by using personal protective equipment and disposing of it safely.

Providing home care

When delivering support and care services to people in their own homes, follow the government guidance on provision of home care.

Social distancing

You must help your client to follow the government guidance on social distancing at all times.

Travel

COVID-19 Parking Concessions for Health & Social Care workers end 21 June

In line with the government road map for lifting of restrictions, all current parking concessions for Health & Social Care Staff that relate to Covid-19 will end on 21 June. To allow for more time to make applications and get permits, East Sussex County Council (ESCC) are extending the use of Covid-19 passes and any previous agreed concessions until 30 June, and returning to all pre Covid-19 permits from the 1 July.

Applications for permits can be made from 20 May. Please make sure that you and any other members of your staff that are eligible for the healthcare worker and carer permits have them ready to use from 1 July.

More information on healthcare worker and carer permits can be found on our permit pages at Parking permits | East Sussex County Council

If you have any questions or need help applying for permits please contact parking information on 01273 335500 (option 2) or email parking.information@eastsussex.gov.uk.

Attending Hospitals

Personal Assistants can accompany their employers to appointments, to help with their communication and/or to meet their health or social care needs.

See: NHS East Sussex Healthcare Trust for the latest information on hospital visiting, as restrictions differ depending on the ward or site.

Flu vaccine information for PAs

Guidance specially for PAs, including why and when to have a jab and a letter template for employed PAs to use is available at Flu immunisation for social care staff - GOV.UK.

Adult social care training

New Support with Confidence applicants and members approved since COVID: If you are applying for Support with Confidence accreditation regarding training please ask for advice as to current requirements by emailing: Support.WithConfidence@eastsussex.gov.uk

Current members: You can update your training online. Please email Renee.Jasper-Griffiths@eastsussex.gov.uk for advice on how to access this.

Other training

See the Training page for details of other useful courses.