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COVID-19 updates for adult social care and health providers

National guidance

Heat-Health Watch period: Beat the Heat

We are now in the Heat-Health Watch period, which is in place throughout the summer until 15 September. Please refer to the government’s heatwave plan for England which provides resources for care providers and links to other useful publications.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important that you know what actions to take to keep those you care for safe from high temperatures.

Residential and Care settings

Recognising that people in residential and care settings are at particularly high risk of illness and death, this is a useful guide and checklist Beat the Heat, Keep residents safe and well during COVID-19.

Domiciliary Care and other care in peoples homes

For providers supporting people in their own homes, further guidance - Beat the Heat: Coping with heat and COVID-19 - has been published to support people to stay safe in hot weather, including how to keep your home cool. It tells you who is at greatest risk of ill health from the heat, how to recognise when someone’s health may be affected, and what to do if you or someone else becomes unwell as a result of the heat.

COVID-19 Response – Changes for Adult Social Care services

In February the Government published COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England and how restrictions will be lifted over the coming months.

Some of the rules on what we can and cannot do changed on 17 May. However, on 14 June 2021 the government announced an up to 4-week extension on the current restrictions

Read (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) updated on 14 June 2021 to see a summary of the expected changes. These include changes from 21 June for care home visits in and out of care homes, and testing for care home admissions from the community. 

Care Home Visiting - latest

The guidance for Visiting arrangements in care homes and the Guidance for Visits out of care homes are both due to be reviewed again by 17 June, with changes applying from 21 June 2021.

The rules are different depending on whether you are visiting someone in a care home or a resident is having a visit out of the home.

The key changes are:

Visiting a care home

At the current time, residents can have up to five regular visitors, with up to two visitors at one time or in a single day. People visiting will need to have tested negative for COVID-19 before they come inside and follow the rules on how to prevent infection from spreading.

Low risk visits out of care homes

At the current time, care home residents leaving the home for a low risk visit, such as a walk in the park, will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days when they return.

Please note there is separate guidance for people in supported living.

Providers can access support from publichealthenquiries@eastsussex.gov.uk if they have further questions.

Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings

The guidance on restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings contains guidance for care home providers on limiting staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

EU Settlement Scheme: Deadline approaching

Do you care for, or employ, any EU, EEA or Swiss citizens? Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Home Office is urging EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who were living in the UK by 31 December 2020, and their family members (including non-EEA citizens), to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) so they can continue living in the UK. This status means they will continue to be eligible for public services, such as healthcare, as well as access to benefits and other public funds.

The application deadline for those who were living in the UK by 31 December 2020 is 30 June 2021.

Applications can be made, for free, online on the GOV.UK website.

An appropriate third party can assist a vulnerable person with their application or apply on their behalf, and you can find details of support available locally using the finder on the GOV.UK website.

Faster medication orders for Care Homes

The LGA and NHS have published a step-by-step guide for care homes to quickly and safely order medications online for residents via proxy access to their GP online services account.

Hosted on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website, the guidance provides examples of all the documentation needed and explains the data sharing, staff training, information governance, confidentiality, set-up and communication requirements needed between care homes, GP practices and pharmacies.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the team socialcaredigital@local.gov.uk.

Adult Social Care - Links to Key Government guidance

All the below links go to the Government website for the latest updated guidance relating to COVID-19. 

All care staff and carers should review Coronavirus restrictions: What you can and cannot do which explains the changes to restrictions from 29 March 2021.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult social care guidance brings together guidance published by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England and other relevant guidance.

Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus provides information for adult social care providers.

There is guidance specifically for social care staff on the NHS England website.

COVID-19: supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults: This guidance for care staff includes a section on Supporting the person through change.

COVID-19: Providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults

COVID-19: Getting help with daily activities outside your home during coronavirus: Guidance is for carers and people who require support outside of the home. It also explains when people offering support count towards the ‘rule of 6’ or two household limit.

COVID-19: providing unpaid care to friends or family: This guidance is for people providing unpaid care to friends or family. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce contains all the latest advice for those working in adult social care on managing your mental health and how employers can take care of the wellbeing of their staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Reducing risk in adult social care provides a framework for how you should assess and support members of your workforce who may be at an increased risk from coronavirus.

COVID-19: admission and care of people in care homes covers how to protect care home residents and staff.

How to work safely in care homes provides information on the use of PPE for care workers working in care homes.

How to work safely in domiciliary care provides information on the use of PPE for care workers delivering home care (domiciliary care). It covers visiting home care, extra care housing and live-in home care.

Provision of home care brings together guidance for social care staff, registered providers, local authorities and commissioners who are supporting and delivering care to people in their own homes.

Guidance for providers of supported living services including safe systems of working and infection control.

Guidance on looking after people who lack capacity sets out what relevant circumstances should be considered when making best interest decisions.

Hospital discharge service guidance covers the same and timely discharge of people from hospital.

Steps to take following the death of a person who worked in adult social care sets out what employers need to do following a COVID-19 related death of an employee or volunteer. We will provide support to manage the process for personal assistants. Please send any enquiries to: ascpersonalisation@eastsussex.gov.uk.

COVID-19: guidance for care of the deceased explains how to manage the death of a person with suspected or confirmed coronavirus.

Verification of death in times of emergency guidance clarifies practice for verifying deaths outside of hospitals.

Guidance for people receiving direct payments gives advice for 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.

Guidance on Right COVID-19: Right to Work Checks provides advice for employers carrying out right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Guidance on calculating the minimum wage includes an updated section on sleep-in shifts under the “special situations” header: Working hours for which the minimum wage must be paid - Calculating the minimum wage - Guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have produced a directory of resources and best practice from across the social care sector.