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COVID-19 updates for adult social care and health providers

Introduction

These pages provide regular up-to-date information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for local adult social care and health providers. The information is taken from our regular email bulletins. Email ASC Personalisation team to be added to the mailing list.

  • All national guidance for the Adult Social Care sector on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, published over the last few months can be found at GOV.UK.
  • Easy read COVID-19 guides are available for people with learning disabilities. These include the latest government COVID-19 rules, advice for people clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, and how to keep well and look after your mental health.

Provider enquiries

If you’re a provider with a query relating to COVID-19 and adult social care, please email the ASC Personalisation team. Due to the volume of queries received, there may be a delay replying to your message. We’ll respond as soon as we can.

If your query is about a client

Contact Health and Social Care Connect. They will also collate any general queries they receive.

Community hubs

Community hubs are open across East Sussex to help people who need support due to the effects of coronavirus. This can include help to get hold of food, medicines and other essentials. Anyone who feels they need extra support and has no other way to get it can use a hub.

The hubs are usually open from 9am to 5pm. Find out more about community hubs.


COVID-19 testing

For a round up of local guidance see: Getting a COVID-19 test in East Sussex.

Rapid symptom free testing for COVID-19

Anyone who does not have symptoms can order lateral flow tests through the government website.

Find out more about symptom free COVID-19 testing.

Testing is not a replacement for other COVID-19 secure measures. Continue to follow national restrictions, practice good hand hygiene, wear face masks and adhere to social distancing.

COVID-19 testing in all adult social care settings

We must continue to operate a thorough testing programme, even when vaccines have been administered.

For information on COVID-19 testing for staff, residents and visitors in all adult social care settings, see (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings. It includes advice on testing for care homes, extra care and supported living, home care and day care centres.

COVID-19 testing for home care workers

COVID-19 testing for home care workers guidance explains how home care (domiciliary care) workers in England can collect, complete and register test kits.

For more information on home care agency testing, you can sign up to DHSC’s webinars which are hosted every Tuesday and Thursday.

COVID-19 testing for care homes

For the latest information check COVID-19 testing in adult care homes.

Our National guidance page also has updates.

Whole care home testing

Whole care home testing is available for all adult care homes for people aged over and under 65 years. This includes those with learning disabilities or mental health problems, regardless of whether residents have symptoms.

You can apply for coronavirus tests for a care home on the government online portal.

Information on testing for care home residents and workers can be found in the guidance on coronavirus testing.

COVID-19 testing for professionals visiting care homes

Testing for professionals visiting care homes provides advice on testing professional visitors.

When care home staff test positive

Any staff member who receives a positive test result (via a LFD or a PCR) or who displays symptoms should not work and must isolate at home, without exception. They cannot continue to work in any capacity, even with residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been vaccinated.

See NHS self-isolation and treatment for the latest guidance on isolating after displaying symptoms, or receiving a positive test result.

COVID-19 testing for adult day care centres

Weekly PCR home testing is being offered to adult day care centre workers.

See: COVID-19 testing for adult day care centres for more details.

Hospices: staff testing

Hospice inpatients are generally highly vulnerable to coronavirus. Therefore, there are further risk mitigations in place for staff testing in hospices. Fully vaccinated health and care workers without symptoms, who are identified as close contacts should attend work, subject to the following:

  • Taking a PCR test and not attending work until they have had a negative result. Staff working in the sector would be expected to continue working following a negative PCR test.
  • When returning to work following a negative PCR test, staff must test daily with a LFD for up to 10 days.

Hospices should try to ensure that fully vaccinated staff who are exempt from self-isolation are redeployed away from direct patient contact during this 10 day period. 

Continue to take precautions outlined in national guidance to minimise risk of infection. This includes wearing the correct PPE and carrying out local risk assessment to inform workplace contact tracing for staff working in hospices.

Reporting new COVID-19 outbreaks to Public Health England

If you have a new suspected case of COVID-19 among your residents or staff, contact the local Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3861 (hold then option 3).

They will facilitate rapid testing of all staff and residents as a priority.

Admission to care homes and other care settings

The government guidance Admission and care of residents in a care home during COVID-19 explains how to admit and care for residents safely, and protect staff in care homes and registered providers of accommodation for people who need personal or nursing care.

Help and advice on testing

First check the advice on Testing for coronavirus (NHS)

If you have questions, or are having difficulties accessing testing, email publichealthenquiries@eastsussex.gov.uk.


Vaccinations for health and social care staff

Booking a vaccination

Everyone aged 16 or over is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. 

You can arrange your vaccination in the following ways:

  • Attending a walk-in vaccination clinic. These are available across Sussex. You don't need to be registered with a GP. Simply turn up with some ID and your NHS number if you know it.  Find your local clinic.
  • By booking an appointment either directly with your GP, through the national booking site or by calling 119. 

See: Sussex COVID Vaccination Programme for more details.

If you’re aged 40 and over, you can bring forward your second appointment to 8 weeks from the first. If you booked your first jab through the national booking site or by calling 119, go online or call again to bring your second dose forward.

Please don’t forget to follow government guidance around ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ once you’ve had your vaccination.

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for care home staff from 11 November

In June, the government announced new legislation requiring everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated to protect residents, unless they have a medical exemption.

These regulations will come into force on Thursday 11 November. People who have not yet had the vaccine must have their first dose by Thursday 16 September to allow the 8 week gap between doses and ensure they are fully vaccinated by Thursday 11 November.

Vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes guidance has been published.

For more information and links to resources to support providers with these changes, see National guidance.

‘NHS COVID Pass' – showing your vaccination status

The government has published guidance on the NHS COVID Pass which is the NHS service to show your COVID-19 vaccination status.

For more information on using the NHS app as your COVID-19 pass, see: Managing your healthcare online – East Sussex CCG.

Care homes: include vaccination status when transferring residents 

NHS East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT) ask all care homes to ensure transfer documentation is completed when a resident is being transferred to a NHS setting. It should include:

  • vaccination status of the resident including 1st and 2nd dose dates
  • which vaccination was administered

Queries about vaccination

Sussex Health and Care Partnership can answer general questions about vaccination. Email: sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net 

For updated information and frequently asked questions about vaccination, visit: Health and care workforce vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccination resources

Vaccination briefings – Sussex Health and Care Partnership

Vaccination briefings for the independent care sector and stakeholders are published by Sussex CCGs. These are all available at Sussex Health and Care Partnership.

Videos about vaccination

The following videos provide further information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Explaining COVID-19 vaccine

Answering questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Fertility, pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine

Accessible resources about COVID-19 vaccination

A series of COVID-19 resources in a variety of languages and accessible formats are updated regularly at Sussex Health and Care Partnership.

Public Health England have developed a range of accessible resources. These include web pages, large print and braille versions of the core leaflets:

COVID-19 vaccination for older adults

Vaccination guide for women of childbearing age

What to expect after vaccination

All of the leaflets have been translated into 18 languages and there are Easy Read versions, as well as BSL videos .

You can order paper copies of the leaflets, and download the audio or video files from the Health Publications website. You just need to register and the service is free.

Vaccine communications resources for adult social care

Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) have  a suite of resources to help care managers reassure their staff about having the vaccine. These include a briefing leaflet, posters and social media graphics.

There are available on Google Drive or from Public Health England’s Campaign Resource Centre.

DHSC also has a range of other materials available in their Communications Toolkit for colleagues working in adult social care, including case study videos, blogs, and social media content in a variety of languages which you can use across your own channels.


Personal protective equipment (PPE)

On Monday 19 July 2021, England moved to Step 4 of the roadmap and most COVID-19 legal restrictions have been lifted. Although most people are now fully vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19 and we are still in the third wave of this pandemic.

Continue to use PPE and infection prevention and control measures

Due to the nature and vulnerability of people receiving care in health and social care settings, it is important that PPE and infection prevention and control (IPC) measures are used in all settings after 19 July to help keep staff and those they care for safe.

Help keep those you care for safe by spreading the word

Help us 'max the vax' and share information on how to access COVID-19 vaccination walk in clinics taking place across Sussex.

Accessing PPE supplies

Eligible health and social care providers (residential and home care providers) can use the PPE portal to meet the extra need for PPE that has arisen as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information on eligibility is in the PPE portal guidance.

You should not use the portal to order PPE for non-COVID-19 requirements. You should get this through your normal channels.

If you are not eligible for the portal and/or you cannot obtain PPE through any other route and have run out or will do so imminently, contact the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) on 0800 915 9964.

PPE guidance for care homes

COVID-19: How to work safely in care homes

The COVID-19: How to work safely in care homes guidance on determining the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to use is regularly updated.

It is aimed at all care workers working in care homes in England. It is also relevant for visitors or essential care-givers in care homes.

Webinar on updates to this guidance

A one hour webinar covering the latest changes to PPE guidance was hosted on 18 May 2021 by the DHSC, chaired by Chief Nurse Deborah Sturdy.

Webinar: COVID-19 How to work safely in care homes

PPE guidance for home care (domiciliary care)

COVID-19: How to work safely in domiciliary care 

COVID-19: How to work safely in domiciliary care government guidance on what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to use is regularly updated. 

This resource is primarily for care workers and providers delivering care in the following settings:

  • visiting home care
  • extra care housing
  • live-in home care

Updates reflect the current COVID-19 situation in England, the latest scientific evidence at this stage of the pandemic and stakeholder and user feedback.

PPE for Personal Assistants

See our Personal Assistants page for information on PPE for PAs.

Resources on PPE and infection control


Test and trace

Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

For more information of this scheme, including the full eligibility criteria, see Test and Trace Support Payment scheme: claiming financial support – GOV.UK.

Self-isolation period

The self-isolation period for anyone with symptoms, or those who have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive, is 10 days (since December 2020).

119 Test and Trace contact centre

If you have any questions about testing, registering your kits, couriers or results please call the dedicated Test and Trace contact centre on 119. Lines are open from 7am to 11pm daily, seven days a week. This has replaced the gov.uk ‘COVID care home testing’ email address.

  • 119 can only investigate missing test results where there are ten or more missing results.
  • Call 119 if your care home has run out of kits before it is eligible to place the next order.
  • 119 can book urgent replacement couriers if your courier did not arrive and will escalate any other concerns. Never dispose of used test kits because the courier did not show up.
  • It is critical that all barcodes in each test kit are identical, so that registration data and results are correctly associated with the right person. Before using your test kits, check that all four barcodes (found on the vial, the bag, the box, and the loose barcode for your records) match. If not, do not use the test kit. Call 119 to inform them of the issue and order replacement kits.

Test and trace app use by staff in care homes

The contact tracing part of the test and trace app is designed to identify when two people (using the app) have been near to each other long enough for COVID-19 transmission to occur if one person is infectious and the other person is susceptible. The app could cause false alarms if you leave the contact tracing app on when you are not with the phone, or when you are wearing PPE, and the phone is near someone who has tested or later tests positive for COVID-19.

To avoid being alerted about being a contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19 when you are not at risk, please pause the contact tracing element of the app if you:

  • bring your phone to work but leave it in a locker or communal area while you are elsewhere in the home. This is so that the phone does not register contacts when you are not near it.
  • carry your phone with you during your work and you are wearing medical grade PPE such as a surgical mask. This is so that the phone does not register contacts when you are protected by PPE.
  • you are working behind a fixed Perspex (or equivalent) screen and are fully protected from other people.

Find out how to pause the contact tracing app.

Test and Trace QR codes

The NHS COVID-19 app has a check-in feature which enables a venue to register for an official NHS QR code and allows users to ‘check-in’ to participating venues on their app by scanning that code.

Care homes should have a QR code poster at the entrance so that visitors can scan on entry. Care homes are also recommended to have QR code posters in waiting rooms and recreational areas that are regularly attended by external visitors and guests. If there are different restaurant and café areas within a large care home, they should each have their own QR code. The posters can be created online for free.

You should continue to maintain any visitor registration system that you already have in place, especially as the app doesn’t work on some older phones.

Test and trace guidance

Test and trace: how it works guidance supports the NHS test and trace service for England. The additional guidance below clarifies the process if care staff come into contact with someone who has been identified by the NHS test and trace service as a positive case.

  • When someone tests positive for COVID-19 (known as a positive case), they will be contacted by the NHS test and trace service and asked to provide information about where they have been recently (in last 48 hours) and who they have been in contact with.
  • If the positive case works in or has recently visited a care setting, they will be referred to the local public health experts – currently this is Public Health England (PHE).
  • The local PHE team will work to identify whether care staff identified by the case are considered to be contacts or not. The PHE team may need to get in touch with care staff who are identified by the case as possible contacts to find out further information about the nature of the contact. For example, by asking questions about the length of time, type of activity undertaken and whether care staff were wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Where a staff member has been wearing appropriate PPE while caring for a person who has symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19, in the overwhelming majority of cases the member of staff will not need to self-isolate.
  • Where a staff member has been caring for a person who has symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19 while the staff member was wearing appropriate PPE, but the PPE has been breached; OR
  • If a staff member has been in contact with anybody else who has tested positive for COVID-19, whether at work (most likely a colleague in communal areas) or in the community without wearing PPE, the member of staff will need to isolate for 10 days (note: this period was previously 14 days, and changed to 10 on 14 December) in line with the advice to the general population. This advice should be followed regardless of the results of any antibody testing. A positive antibody result shows previous exposure, but it is currently unknown whether this means the person is immune or protected against future infections.
  • Care staff should engage if they are contacted by the NHS test and trace service or the local PHE team, proactively stating their job role and any PPE used during the period of time they are asked about as part of the contact tracing process.
  • Care staff should also inform their manager if they are called by the NHS test and trace service/local PHE team and inform them of the advice they have been given.

To enable the contact tracing approach to work effectively and avoid unnecessary isolation, it is vitally important that all staff continue to follow social distancing of 2 metres, hand hygiene and PPE guidance. This includes not taking breaks together in close proximity, not sharing cars to work where possible, and wearing face masks whilst working in communal areas.


National guidance

Mandatory vaccination of people working in care homes

From 11 November 2021, anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless exempt.

On 4 August 2021, Vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes: operational guidance was published.

This guidance is aimed at care home managers, care workers and local authorities. It includes key information about the incoming legal requirements, including an initial 16-week grace period. The guidance explains who will need to be vaccinated, who might be exempt, what is legally expected of the care home and implications for staff who choose not to be vaccinated. 

Care homes need to be aware that this requirement forms part of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) fundamental standards and will be monitored and enforced in appropriate cases from November 2021.

Support for providers

The DHSC has also worked with Skills for Care to provide additional resources to help care home managers and providers prepare for these new regulations.

Continue using PPE and infection prevention and control

Continue to use PPE and infection prevention and control measures in all health and social care settings.

Rules around self-isolation

From 16 August 2021, anyone in England who has been fully vaccinated, or is under the age of 18, will no longer need to self-isolate when they are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Most fully vaccinated care staff who are close contacts of COVID-19 cases can now routinely return to work, provided they have had a negative PCR test. Daily lateral flow tests will need to be taken for 10 days as a precaution. Staff working with extremely clinically vulnerable residents or clients will need a risk assessment carried out by a designated person in the workplace before they return to work.

Self-isolation is no longer required for fully COVID-19 vaccinated care home residents, following the latest changes to admission and care of people in care homes

Anyone who develops symptoms of the virus should self-isolate and get a PCR test and stay in isolation until the result comes back. Anyone who tests positive is required to self-isolate.

Care home visiting guidance

Visiting arrangements in care homes sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents.

It is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents are vaccinated before conducting visits.

  • Every care home resident can have ‘named visitors’ who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. There is no limit on the number of ‘named visitors’ that a single resident can have and no nationally set limit on the number who can visit in a single day.
  • Every care home resident can choose to nominate an 'essential care giver' who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs. This person should be able to visit in all circumstances, including if the care home has an outbreak (but not if the essential care giver or resident is COVID-positive).
  • Named visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum (excluding essential care givers). Physical contact like hand-holding is acceptable if hand washing protocols are followed.
  • Close personal contact such as hugging presents a higher risk. It will be safer if it is brief contact between people who are double vaccinated, without face-to-face contact.
  • Care homes can also continue to offer visits to friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows.
  • Individuals notified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are advised not to visit care homes. They may visit in exceptional circumstances, such as when a resident is nearing the end of their life.

There is separate guidance for supported living and extra care settings.

Visits out of care homes

The guidance on visits out of care homes applies to visits where the resident leaves the care home premises.

It gives advice on self-isolation and arrangements for care home staff accompanying residents out of the care home.

Care home residents will no longer be asked to self-isolate, following a transfer from another care facility, or following a planned overnight stay in hospital, subject to risk assessments. Residents admitted to care homes, following emergency overnight admissions to hospital, must still self-isolate for 14 days.

Individual risk assessments should take into account:

  • the vaccination status of residents, visitors and staff, including the extent of second vaccinations
  • any testing of those accompanying the resident or who they intend to meet on their visit out
  • levels of infection in the community
  • variants of concern in the community
  • where the resident is going on a visit and what activities they will take part in while on the visit
  • the mode of transport that residents intend to use

Where a care home is situated in a local community with high, or rapidly rising, levels of infection, and/or where there is evidence of variants of concern or variants under investigation, care home managers should seek additional local advice from Public Health.

In an outbreak, all movements out of a care setting should be minimised as far as possible

If you have further questions please email your local Public Health team for advice: publichealthenquiries@eastsussex.gov.uk

Bulk upload spreadsheet for COVID-19 tests for ASC settings

All adult social care settings using a bulk upload spreadsheet for COVID-19 tests need to use a new spreadsheet from 1 July 2021.  

For more information see the guidance for Organisation testing: registration of users.

Watch a recording of the training webinar held by Test and Trace.

Care homes: CQC publishes death notification data involving COVID-19

On 21 July 2021 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published data showing death notifications involving COVID-19 received from individual care homes between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. This is accompanied by their CQC Insight report which draws from the data to make the key points and provides crucial context for understanding what this data says.

Providers have a duty to notify CQC of deaths of people under their care. This data is based on the notifications that care home providers sent to CQC, and all care providers were given advanced sight of the data published on their service.

Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings

The guidance on restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings advises care home providers to limit staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances.

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.

It 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, email: socialcaredigital@local.gov.uk

Key guidance for adult social care

All care staff

Care staff in all areas should review Coronavirus restrictions: What you can and cannot do.

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.

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.

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

Coronavirus: right to work checks provides advice for employers carrying out right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Care homes

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.

Home care

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.

Supported Living

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

Following death

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. 

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.


Supporting people through COVID-19

Providing COVID-19 recovery care and support at home

Practical tips to deal with common care issues on discharge from hospital are outlined in the Recovering at home guide published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.  It includes advice on tracheostomy wound care, looking after skin, fatigue and the psychological and social impact of contracting COVID-19 and needing hospital care.

Supporting someone with breathlessness

The Supporting Breathlessness website provides and advice for family, friends and carers of people with breathlessness. It has specific information if you are supporting someone with breathlessness due to COPD or cancer who may be recovering from coronavirus.

Recovering from COVID-19

Your COVID recovery – NHS offers advice to help people recover from the long-term effects of COVID-19. It includes information from rehabilitation experts about how to manage ongoing symptoms and health needs at home, and signposts to sources of support. 

Post-COVID hub and helpline

The British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK have set up a post COVID hub to bring together information about the longer-term impact of COVID-19.

It includes a helpline offering support on post COVID-19 breathlessness.

Phone: 0300 222 5942 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) 

End of life care

More than ever, people working in health and social care, who may not be specialists in this area, are finding themselves working with people who are dying, or whose condition is deteriorating rapidly. 

Skills for Care have produced guides to help you and your workforce during these challenging times.

Extra help from Age UK East Sussex

Age UK East Sussex have launched the Community Emergency Response Team. This includes a telephone befriending service as well as help with shopping and prescriptions. Phone 01273 476 704 to be directed to the relevant team.

Adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults

Supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults: government guidance for care workers and personal assistants.

SCIE have published a guide for care staff supporting adults with learning disabilities or autistic adults.

Easy read COVID-19 guides are available which include the latest government rules, how to keep well and look after your mental health. 

Flu vaccinations: Anyone with a learning disability is entitled to a free flu vaccination. Learning disability nurse, Becky Sparks, has recorded a video called Importance of getting a flu jab for people with learning disabilities.

Dementia care and COVID-19

  • Social Care Institute for Excellence has published a quick guide for carers in care homes supporting residents living with dementia. It covers understanding signs of COVID-19, helping residents with confusion, managing behavioural challenges and supporting residents with end-of-life care.
  • The Health Innovation Network have produced a guide to online resources with suggested activities for those providing care for people with dementia. These can be used in inpatient settings and care homes.

Supporting people with face coverings

Skills for Care and our Adult Social Care Training Team, have developed a guide for staff on supporting people with face coverings and some other COVID-19 challenges. These changes in behaviour can be hard to achieve, and many people will need additional support to be able to do this without increasing their anxiety. The consultation guide is supported by a resource list full of useful links.


COVID-19 training, e-learning and webinars

Upcoming local meetings, webinars and training

Webinar: Care home huddles for East Sussex

These sessions provide COVID-19 updates for residential and nursing homes. Run by the local NHS and the council, the huddles offer care home managers an opportunity to receive updates on guidance from a Clinical Lead and to ask questions.

The huddles run on the last Weds of the month at 11am.

If you would like to attend a huddle, submit questions or access previous recordings, email: esxccg.carehomehuddle@nhs.net

If you are an East Sussex care provider and would like to sign up for our regular provider bulletins you can subscribe on Gov Delivery.

Online training: Prevention and control of infection 

This 'Prevention and control of infection' training has been developed by Sussex CCGs. It's aimed at people working in Sussex based community care homes, hospices, domiciliary care, and personal care assistants.

The training covers causes of infection, cleaning methods, waste disposal and infection control laws and policies.

It lasts 1 hour and there are several dates to choose from throughout the year.

Visit Eventbrite for more information and to choose and book your place.

National webinars and training resources

Q&A sessions: NHS capacity tracker 

The NHS Capacity Tracker team are now delivering weekly Q&A sessions for care homes in the South East on Tuesdays from 1pm to 2pm.

Join the meeting on Microsoft Teams.

Skills for Care training

Skills for Care has developed:

Outbreaks in care homes – animations

Animations have been produced to support care home staff in preventing future care home outbreaks. These cover:

  • good infection prevention and control both in an out of work
  • PPE: what to wear
  • testing and tracing

Care home visiting in a COVID-19 world – supporting meaningful visits

To support the easing of restrictions on care home visits, the National Care Forum has led the creation of a new set of resources called Partners in Care.

These resources have been developed with care providers, residents and relatives organisations to support meaningful visits. They include:

  • A Visiting Charter – sets out a shared set of rights and responsibilities.
  • A Visiting Pledge – covers key commitments that all parties can sign up to.
  • Useful practical resources to support the charter and the pledge.

They aim to provide practical ways to help residents to receive visitors and maintain relationships during the pandemic, whilst minimising risk.

Resources for staff in different areas of the care sector

SCIE resources

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) continue to produce updated resources on COVID-19.

Visit Coronavirus advice for social care to browse the resources. 

Health Education England

Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare have created a coronavirus (COVID-19) programme.


Support for providers and staff

Sussex Care Homes BAME Staff Network

All Sussex NHS organisations and the three local authorities are committed to creating a safe and affirming community for care home staff of all professions and backgrounds, including staff from Black, Asian and all other ethnic minority and mixed backgrounds. This also includes staff who aspire to develop their white allyship in a non-judgmental environment. 

Network purpose

The Sussex Care Homes BAME Staff Network has been set up to provide a place for care home staff to bring new perspectives and fresh ideas that help drive change and progress. In this space, staff will be able to:

  • celebrate a range of diversity through social events and activities
  • make new friends with other BAME care home workers in Sussex.
  • reflect on the last few months and how the pandemic has made an impact on our lives and our communities.
  • access peer support through discussions about lived experiences.
  • receive guidance and signposting to appropriate services, if desired.
  • work with employers to ensure that BAME staff have a consistent and positive experience in the home(s) they work in.

How to join

All care home staff, including BAME-allies are encouraged to join. Just email: sea.sharp@nhs.net

Support for ethnically diverse citizens during COVID-19

Diversity Resource International is providing community outreach support for ethically diverse citizens in East Sussex who have been affected by COVID-19.

Their outreach workers and bilingual advocates will contact those in need and provide over-the-phone or video support and signpost them to further organisations, if required.

If you know of anyone from an ethnic minority who may be struggling in isolation, feeling vulnerable or alone, please get in touch with them – see Support for East Sussex ethnically diverse citizens during COVID-19.

Supporting culturally appropriate care

Holistic, person-centred care has always been important, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it has become even more critical that we are all aware of culturally appropriate care.

To support this, Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published a guide to culturally appropriate care on their website.

Recruitment

Support with recruitment

Join Social Care was set up to fast-track recruitment into the adult social care sector. Candidates can record a video interview and access free training supported by Skills for Care before starting employment. Registered providers can search for candidates in their local area and view their video interviews before starting DBS checks and training processes, and make conditional offers.

Post your vacancies on the Everyday Is Different website which promotes social care jobs to potential applicants.

We have produced some top tips for fast track recruitment [434.5 KB] [docx] to support you with recruiting quickly, safely and effectively during the coronavirus pandemic. If you have any top tips you’d like to share, please email ASC Personalisation.

There is now a generic email address for Sussex if you need support to recruit staff or volunteers: GetIntoSocialCare.KSS@hee.nhs.uk.

There is also funded online training – Skills for Care to support induction of staff and volunteers via endorsed training providers.

Useful support services and resources

Resources for day services

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have produced a guide to delivering safe, face-to-face adult day care. It is focused on community-based day services, day centres (with and without personal care), including specialised day centre environments, and those with outdoor spaces.

Volunteer schemes

NHS volunteer responders now offer support to front-line health and social care workers. This includes delivering food shopping, dropping off personal medicine or providing transport. Direct referrals can be made through the volunteer responders referrers’ portal or by calling 0808 196 3382 (8am to 8pm).

National Care Force is a not-for-profit organisation that helps care providers, care homes and local authorities find local, vetted volunteers using an app. The volunteers will carry out mostly non-care related activities, such as driving, maintenance and running errands. This allows paid care staff to focus on providing care and support, reducing pressure on providers. It is completely free to use by all.

Free digital support

Digital Social Care has set up a helpline to support the adult social care sector with using technology. Their team of digital experts can give practical advice, troubleshoot a technical problem or offer one-to-one support.

Phone 0208 133 3430 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or email: help@digitalsocialcare.co.uk 


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.

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.

Hospital appointments

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.


Health and wellbeing for staff

New Wellbeing at Work website for East Sussex employers

A new website for employers has been launched as part of the Wellbeing at Work Programme run by our Public Health team.

As we recover from the pandemic, implementing ways to promote staff wellbeing is crucial. Happier and healthier employees work more efficiently together, fostering a positive working environment which allows your organisation to thrive.

The website contains a compilation of free resources and toolkits to help improve wellbeing in the workplace, relevant for employers of all industries and sizes from two employees and up.

For more information and to access the resources, visit Wellbeing at Work.

Wellbeing guidance and resources for staff

The Government guidance COVID-19: health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce contains 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.

The Local Government Association and the NHS have produced a comprehensive pack of wellbeing information and resources. These aim to help managers support staff who may be working under exceptional pressure, while also dealing with their own personal situations and emotions.

SilverCloud Health have setup a dedicated website to provide wellbeing support. It gives access to online self-help programmes for sleep, stress, resilience and dealing with difficult emotions and situations. Sign up online to access SilverCloud and use the PIN SOC2020.

Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support for staff, along with a collection of resources, tips and ideas chosen to support your mental health. Text FRONTLINE to 85258 for a text conversation or call 116 123 for a phone conversation – all in confidence, with a trained volunteer, at any time.

Welfare benefits helpline offers free, confidential financial advice if you are struggling to pay bills or are concerned about growing debt.

Sussex Mental Heathline is now open 24/7 and available to all health and social care staff who might need a little extra support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Samaritans have extended their coronavirus helpline to all social care workers. The wellbeing support line is available 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week. Call: 0300 131 7000.

Dealing with stress, trauma and death

Hospice UK have also extended their bereavement and trauma support hotline to everyone working in social care. Specialist counsellors are available on the helpline which is open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. Call: 0300 303 4434 or text FRONTLINE to 85258.

St. Wilfrid’s Hospice have extended bereavement support to the whole community, including anyone working in health and social care. People can self-refer via St. Wilfrid’s website or ring 01323 434 251 to ask for a call back.

Judgement Index have produced a Dealing with stress trauma and death guide for providers. It includes what trauma is, normal reactions to trauma, top tips and a daily decompression activity. It has information specifically for leaders, and sections for staff and their families.


Updates from East Sussex County Council

Infection Control and Rapid Test Fund

Funding for the latest round of the Infection Control Fund (ICF4) and the Rapid Test Fund (RTF 3), which covers July to September 2021, has now been allocated to those who applied and met the eligibility criteria. Applications are closed.

We would like to remind providers of the need to report on this round, due by Sunday 24 October.

Your report should only account for funds received in the fourth round of funding. It should not include previously received funds or expenses incurred beyond the value of the grants. 

Please email abi.neill@eastsussex.gov.uk if you would like to clarify the figures paid out for this round.

The government guidance adult social care extension to infection control and testing fund 2021 sets out the measures that the extension to the Infection Control and Testing Fund supports, including distribution of funds, conditions and reporting requirements.

Updating the Capacity Tracker

Reminder to complete Capacity Tracker updates 

Home care, care home and regulated community care providers should aim to update the Capacity Tracker on a daily basis.

Services that send updates to their head office or to someone else to update the tracker are asked to check that the information submitted is correctly reported on the tracker. Recently there have been issues where the information on the tracker is incorrect and when the service has been contacted, they are unaware of what has been reported.

Care home vaccinations

It's important that care homes regularly update the Capacity Tracker with details of vaccination uptake (first and second doses) for residents and staff. All staff should inform their manager when they have had the vaccine (whether first or second doses) particularly if they accessed the vaccine outside of the care home setting.

Capacity Tracker information is used both locally and nationally to assess the progress of the vaccination programme and identify any locations that have not been able to access vaccinations.

Business continuity and vacancy questions

Care homes should ensure that both the vacancy and business continuity sections are updated at least once a week and preferably daily.

Help completing the Capacity Tracker

If you are unsure about how to use the Capacity Tracker, there is a ‘Help’ section with a short video and guidance documents to answer most questions.

For any other questions, phone the national help centre on 0191 691 3729 or email necsu.capacitytracker@nhs.net

COVID-19 self-isolation support

Self-isolation is extremely important to stop the spread of COVID-19. People are legally required to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, but there can be barriers that mean people don’t follow the rules. These are things like not understanding what they need to do, financial or employment concerns, access to food and other essentials, and the impact on their mental health.

There is now more support available to people self-isolating in East Sussex, to help them do so successfully. The Local Tracing Partnership will contact anyone who tells NHS Test and Trace they need extra support whilst they self-isolate to:

  • connect them to the community hubs for help with things like shopping, self-isolation support payments or housing concerns
  • signpost them to other services, for example mental health, physical health or social care support
  • arrange urgent food delivery if they have no other way to access food.

People can still contact the community hubs directly.

Those told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace who have no other way to get their medicines can also get free medicine delivery from their pharmacy during their 10-day isolation period. People will need their NHS Test and Trace Account ID when requesting the service.

COVID-19 outbreak at a care home – contact Public Health

If a care home has a COVID-19 outbreak, they need to follow the advice issued by Public Health England Health Protection Teams as part of outbreak management.

For further information on outbreaks:

Check the Outbreak Control Plan

Contact: Public Health


Local information and guidance from Sussex CCGs and Public Health

Public Health bulletins

These monthly bulletins aim to give information from a range of sources on areas of interest relating to public health, and are shared with the wider East Sussex Community.

For the latest local COVID-19 data in East Sussex and regular messages from the Director of Public Health, see our COVID-19 weekly monitoring report.

Enhanced health in care homes

Enhanced Health in Care Homes (EHCH) is an NHS initiative which aims to strengthen support for the people who live and work in and around care homes, by supporting how we all work together to provide proactive care that is centred on the needs of individual residents, their families and care home staff.

The Enhanced Health in Care Homes is expected to bring many benefits including:

  • Fast and easy access to healthcare professionals including access to a named primary care lead, care home matron (or equivalent) and pharmacist providing Structured Medication Reviews
  • Clinical assessment within seven days of admission or readmission to a care home
  • Access to wider community services & specialist services through MDT (multi-disciplinary teams)

There was an overview provided on Enhanced Health in Care Homes during the East Sussex Care Home huddle on 3 June 2021. If you missed it, you can view the slide set here.

Find out more on the Care Provider Alliance website: Enhanced Health in Care Homes: A guide for care homes

If you have any questions, email: isobel.warren@nhs.net 

Starline *6: Sign up for priority access to NHS 111 clinicians for care home staff

All CQC-registered care homes can now sign up to gain access to a new urgent community care support service. Starline gives fast access to a range of clinical care professionals for urgent advice, via NHS 111 and dialling *6.

Starline provides a formal support line for care professionals and domiciliary workers on scene with a patient in a care home. It gives access to rapid clinical advice and rapid response services in your area through direct conversations with GP’s; mental health nurses; dental nurses; pharmacists; registered general nurses; advanced nurse practitioners; and paramedics.

Starline, which is part of the NHS 111 Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) is not intended to replace existing urgent support services such as Health and Social Care Connect in Brighton & Hove; One Call One Team in West Sussex; or the Professional Support Line (PSL) for East Sussex, but works alongside to provide an escalation point for urgent community support when you need it. The service can also escalate to 999 if required.

See: East Sussex CCG website for more information and how to sign up.

NHS 111 First: Getting the right treatment at the right time

Unless it is a medical 999 emergency, the NHS is urging everyone to call 111 rather than turning up at A&E.

By calling 111 or visiting their website – 111.nhs.uk – the team will talk to you about the help you need, and can now give you an arrival time for an Urgent Treatment Centre or A&E.

Find out more on the Sussex Health and Care website.

Care homes: Reuse of medicines

The government has published a standard operating procedure (SOP) on how to run a safe and effective medicines reuse scheme in a care home or hospice during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Your care home will need to decide if they are going to opt in or out of this SOP.
  • To make it work you will need NHS email and a video communication device such as a computer with a camera or a smart phone.
  • Sussex CCG is currently working through the practicalities of this SOP with GPs, Community and Hospice at Home nursing, Community Pharmacy and other services that may be involved.

Please contact sc-tr.moch-eastsussex@nhs.net if you have any queries or comments that you wish to be considered.

Infection prevention and control

Check this Infection prevention and control checklist [58.7 KB] [docx] for the management of COVID-19 which should be used with the latest national infection, prevention and control guidance and care home support package.