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COVID-19 updates for adult social care and health providers


COVID-19 guidance for Personal Assistants

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

The COVID-19 vaccine is now being offered to all adults.

Visit Health and care workforce vaccinations to find out how to get your jab.

Further advice about vaccination

If you have any questions, please use the links below:

Even if 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.

COVID-19 testing for Personal Assistants

Anyone working in adult social care who is not part of regular testing at work can access twice-weekly COVID-19 testing, including Personal Assistants.

In brief: 

  • Personal Assistants can access twice weekly rapid Lateral Flow Testing (LFT), with confirmatory PCR tests for a positive test.
  • The tests can be ordered from GOV.UK.
  • The results of all lateral flow tests (including positives, negatives and voids) must be registered on GOV.UK.

If a PA tests positive with an lateral flow test, they must:

Information on testing

Watch a video on how to do a lateral flow test.

The Department of Health and Social Care offer a webinar specifically for personal assistants on the COVID-19 testing process – choose a date and register.

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

Regular testing is a useful way to identify positive cases and reduce the risk of onward transmission, but it does not replace the need to use PPE and follow COVID safe working practices.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control

PPE grants available for Personal Assistants until 31 March 2022

The government has extended the offer of free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Personal Assistants until 31 March 2022. 

Employed Personal Assistants

Grants to cover the costs of purchasing PPE are available to East Sussex clients who receive direct payments and employ Personal Assistants to support them.

We have written to direct payments clients about these grants.

To find out more, see: Coronavirus – information for people receiving direct payments

Self-employed Personal Assistants

Self-employed Personal Assistants who deliver support in East Sussex can also apply for a grant.

These grants will be available to meet the ongoing costs of PPE from 1 July 2021 until 31 March 2022. You can apply online on our consultation hub:

The closing date for grant applications is Monday 28 February 2022.

PPE and safe practice advice

When working with clients, you should always wear PPE to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. PPE guidance for health and social care workers is still in place, despite the relaxation of the legal requirement for the general public to wear face masks.

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

The government’s guidance around use of PPE and working safely in home care is regularly updated and may be applicable to some of your duties as a PA.

You must wash your hands immediately before every episode of care and after any activity or contact that may result 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.

If the person has symptoms or confirmed coronavirus, any 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
  • 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

Normal household products, such as washing with detergent and hot water followed by disinfecting with bleach, 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're 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.

Personal Assistant Infection Control Advisory Project

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how the Personal Assistant workforce working alone in the community experienced difficulties accessing practical and financial support.

The PA Infection Control Advisory Project is a joint initiative between Adult Social Care and Public Health to increase PA infection prevention and control knowledge to ensure best practice. Due to the success of the project, it has been extended until December 2022.

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

If you want to seek some advice, ask a question, or you would like a 1:1 conversation around infection control, get in touch. The team are here to help you!

How to contact us

Email the project team at PAIPCProtectCovid19@eastsussex.gov.uk  

The team is available from Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Fridays 9am to 4.30pm.

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 phone Health and Social Care Connect urgently on 0345 60 80 191.

Personal assistants and their 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 latest Stay at home guidance.

If the person you are caring for has symptoms

If you are caring for a client who 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.

Keeping safe

You must help your client to follow the government guidance on staying safe at all times.

Travel

COVID-19 parking concessions ended

Temporary parking concessions for health and social care staff that related to COVID-19 ended on 21 June.

Applications for health care and carer permits can be made at any time by eligible healthcare workers and carers. More information can be found on our parking permit pages under the relevant area.

If you have any questions or need help applying for permits please contact parking information on 01273 335 500 (option 2) or email: Parking information.

Attending hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic

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 on current requirements by emailing: Support with Confidence

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

Other training

See our Training page for details of other useful courses.