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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.

See also Advice for people clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.


COVID-19 testing

For a round up of national guidance see Getting a test in East Sussex.

National care home testing service feedback

You are invited to provide feedback on how you’ve found the national care home testing service.

Complete the care homes feedback survey to let the Department of Health and Social Care know what’s working and what’s not working with the care home testing service.

Any time you have an issue with testing, or a suggestion for an improvement, please feed this back into the survey.

Summary of COVID-19 testing available in Adult Social Care settings

In order to identify positive cases and continue to monitor the effects and transmission of coronavirus, we must continue to operate a thorough and meaningful testing programme, even in settings where vaccines have been administered.

On 24 March the Government published a summary outline of the COVID-19 testing available for testing staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care settings. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings.

This short summary includes the following:

Care homes (page 2 to 5)

  • Regular testing cycle for residents and staff
  • Outbreak testing for residents and staff
  • Family and Friend Visitors
  • Visiting professionals
  • Testing for people being admitted to a care home from hospitals or in the community (page 9)

Extra Care and Supported Living settings (page 6)

Home Care Testing (page 7)

Day Care Centres (page 8)

Guidance clarification: testing arrangements for named visitors at care homes

The Department for Health and Social Care would like to clarify that all named visitors at care homes should be tested at the care home on arrival. The guidance states that:

Rapid lateral flow tests must be done onsite in line with current MHRA guidance, due to the type of test kit care homes receive. At this time visitors cannot self-test at home, however work is underway so that in the coming weeks, care homes will receive tests for visitors that are approved for self-test. At that point, visitors will have the option for tests to be conducted at home, or to use the result of a test taken in other settings. Care homes will receive further communications from NHS Test and Trace about this. However, until this time, visitors must continue to test onsite.

Further information is available at Guidance on care home visiting.

COVID-19 testing for homecare workers

The guidance setting out how homecare agencies in England can order regular tests for their domiciliary staff has been updated.

All registered homecare agencies will be contacted with details of how to apply for test kits for their carers. Homecare agencies will be responsible for ordering and distributing tests to all homecare workers for them to conduct at home on a weekly basis.

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

Updated guidance: COVID-19 testing for professionals visiting care homes

Following feedback, the Covid-19 testing for professionals visiting care homes guidance was revised on 11 March. This guidance strengthens the existing approach for testing professional visitors to care homes in order to reduce risks from visits from professionals.

The key changes are:

  • The default position is that without a negative test, the professional should not be allowed into the care home (unless in an emergency, unless overridden by the care home manager following a risk based decision, or unless their entry is required by law such as CQC inspectors).
  • For NHS professionals, care homes should see evidence from the professional of a negative rapid lateral flow test within the last 72hrs, which shows they are following the NHS staff testing regime.
  • As per the previous guidance, professionals who are not part of regular testing for NHS staff or CQC inspectors (for example professionals such as podiatrists or engineers) will need to be tested at the care home in the same way as visitors.
  • If they are visiting multiple care homes in one day, they will now only need to be tested at the first care home they visit that day and can use evidence of this test at the next care home they visit that day.
  • CQC inspectors will now test at home using a lateral flow test on the day of a care home inspection, in addition to their weekly PCR.
  • Like care home staff, visiting professionals are exempt from testing for 90 days following a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms.

The guidance provides further details and outlines the different forms of test evidence.

This guidance should be implemented as soon as possible but we also understand that professionals and their employers will need time to get to grips with practical issues, such as how they will provide evidence to care homes. Therefore, this guidance should be implemented by care homes and professionals by 22nd March if not before.

Symptom-free testing for COVID-19 (LFD)

Symptom-free COVID-19 testing using lateral flow devices (LFD) is now available within the community.

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus have no symptoms and can spread the virus without knowing. Regularly testing people who aren’t displaying any of the signs of COVID-19 is an important addition to the fight against the pandemic and returning to life as close to normal as possible. Regular testing is still recommended if you have had the vaccine.

These tests are for anyone who must leave home for work and who are not already covered by another testing programme. If you are already covered by a workplace testing programme, please continue to access tests in that way.

If you do not have symptoms and are not already covered by another testing programme, here are some of the ways you can access regular symptom-free testing:

As with the vaccine, testing of people without symptoms is not a replacement for other COVID-19 secure measures. All national restrictions must still be followed and good hand hygiene, wearing face masks and continued social distancing should be adhered to.

COVID-19 testing for care homes – Government updates

New spreadsheet for organisations to register COVID tests from 26 February

For services that use the governments organisation testing registration portal, there is a new version of the record-keeping (bulk upload) spreadsheet to use from 26 February, available at GOV.UK.

You can register up to 100 tests on the spreadsheet. You will need to complete separate spreadsheets for staff and non-staff.

Lateral flow device (LFD) portal – for care homes

All LFD results (negative, positive and void results) must be registered. DHSC will follow up with care homes where results are not reported. Register the result at: Report a COVID test result – GOV.UK.

You can set up an account to register LFD results. Find out how access test kits and step-by-step guides on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents and staff at Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in adult care homes - GOV.UK.

If an individual tests positive with an LFD, they must take a confirmatory PCR test. Your home has been provided with additional PCR tests for this purpose, which come with Royal Mail return labels. Affix these to the confirmatory PCR test kit and send it via your nearest priority post box.

You can select a courier slot at a convenient timeThe collection windows are:

  • Morning (9am to 1pm)
  • Afternoon (2pm to 4pm)
  • Evening slots (6pm to 9pm) are for specialist Ministry of Justice locations only.

You can only book one slot a day.

There is also a regional cap for each daily collection window. Once these are full the option to book will no longer be shown. However, you can book a slot 28 days in advance, so please book in advance to avoid being capped.

If you wish to cancel any collections, call the contact centre on 119. Please cancel a booking if you no longer require the slot so it’s available for another organisation.

Regular testing for adult day care centres

Weekly PCR home testing is being offered to adult day care centre workers. To be eligible, day care centres need to be deemed critical to open during lockdown by local authorities. Services must be run by paid staff, be for adults over 18 and provide non-residential care settings that support the health and wellbeing of adults. This includes:

  • purpose-built day centres
  • day centres attached to or part of a care home or supported living
  • other buildings in communities specifically used for regular adult day care

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

Guidance: 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.

They must not work until they have fully completed their isolation period and are confirmed negative with an LFD test on their return to work. Staff who have been vaccinated must also follow this guidance if they display symptoms. If you require any assistance on this, please contact your local authority.

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

If staff begin to display symptoms at work, they should put on a mask, immediately leave and take a PCR test. This test should be conducted through the NHS testing programme, at a walk-in or drive through test centre, or by applying for home testing. If the staff member cannot access these channels and can take a test using one of the tests at your care home without coming into contact with any staff or residents, then this may be used as an exception.

To access urgent symptomatic testing, see: Check if you have coronavirus – GOV.UK

Care home staff can take LFD tests at home

Care home staff can take and register their twice weekly LFD tests at home, before they arrive to start work. This only applies to care home staff and not to other settings in adult social care.

Care homes should ensure:

1. Staff understand the LFD process for testing:

Read the guidance on self-testing using LFD.

Complete the online training. This training videos last about 15 minutes and are followed by a competency assessment.

Take the training
Input this token to access: 3wkcVi4UTX

2. All LFD test results are logged in the system. Care home managers are also required to set up a system to track LFD completion.

3. Replenish stock of LFD test kits

The government has launched an online replenishment portal which allows you to place orders for LFDs. You should continue to order regular PCR kits for staff and residents as per usual and only order from this portal if you require more test kits.

Reporting new 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 in Horsham on 0344 225 3861 (hold then option 3).

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

Testing frequency

We strongly encourage you to continue with the routine weekly testing of staff and monthly testing of residents to enable identification of asymptomatic cases. Public Health England do not recommend anyone who has had a positive COVID-19 virus (PCR) test result to be re-swabbed for at least 90 days – unless they develop new symptoms.

Testing clients for COVID-19

Whole care home testing

Whole care home testing is available for all adult care homes (both for people aged under 65 and over 65). 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.

If a care home needs to be prioritised for testing, please register on the portal then email ascpersonalisation@eastsussex.gov.uk explaining the reasons your home needs to be prioritised.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight STP have produced a set of  FAQs relating to whole care home testing [27.9 KB] [docx].

Testing clients entering care settings

Social care staff can request a test for clients entering care homes and other care settings which require a negative COVID-19 test before admission. To request a test for a client, email the Central Booking Team on sxccg.covidtestingreferrals@nhs.net with the following details:

  • Client’s name
  • Contact name for booking process
  • Mobile number for above person

The named contact will be phoned by a member of the team to discuss the arrangements for the test. This service is available seven days a week.

Testing clients living in the community

Home care providers, personal assistants and other community workers who wish to arrange testing of clients with symptoms of Coronavirus should visit Get a free Coronavirus test – NHS.

Testing for people who are not on the electoral register

If someone has symptoms of COVID-19 who is homeless or a rough sleeper and is not on the electoral roll, please email sxccg.covidtestingreferrals@nhs.net with the following information:

  • Client name
  • Date of birth
  • NHS number
  • Address
  • Your contact details or the contact details of someone to liaise with to the confirm the details of the test.

Alternatively, if you’re concerned a number of clients may be symptomatic, phone Public Health England on: 0344 225 3861 (hold then option 3).

If an individual has tested positive then we would expect test and trace to come into effect for those who were in contact with the known case.

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

Testing staff for COVID-19

Eligibility

All key workers or household members of a key worker who have developed the onset of symptoms in the past 8 days can be referred for testing. Workers must inform their organisation by day 7 at the latest and book a test within 24 hours to ensure a swab is taken within 8 days.

Asymptomatic staff can request a test if they work in a care home and they are not required to self-isolate under current government guidelines as a test and trace contact or because they have returned from abroad.

The individual must have an appointment before attending a key worker testing service or they will be turned away.

How to book a test for a member of staff

If a member of staff is self-isolating, check they meet the eligibility criteria above. If they agree to be tested, complete the COVID-19 test booking form [54.9 KB] [xlsx] and email it to sxccg.covidtestingreferrals@nhs.net

The central booking team will contact the person being tested directly to confirm the date, time and location of the test.

The individual will receive their results within 72 hours. They’ll need to inform their employer of the outcome. If anyone does not have their results after 72 hours they can contact:

  • Key worker coronavirus testing service desk on 0300 303 2713 (7am to 5pm daily).

Testing for Personal Assistants

See the Personal Assistants page to find out how to book a test if you are a PA.


Vaccinations for health and social care staff

All eligible health and social care workers can use the National Booking Service to book COVID-19 vaccinations if you are not able to receive it through your workplace.

If you are eligible but have not yet had your first vaccination, please go to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccinations website or call 119 today to arrange your appointment.

More information on staff vaccinations can be found below. 

Latest Vaccination News

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for care home staff from October

Following a Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) consultation, anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care will need to have the COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption. The findings of this consultation have also led to plans for further consultations to take place on whether to extend this requirement to include the Flu jab, as well as across other health and social care settings.

This new legislation comes in from October 2021 - subject to Parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16-week grace period.

At the current time we understand that this legislation will apply to the following groups:

  • All workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis)
  • All workers employed by an agency and deployed by the care home
  • Volunteers deployed in the care home
  • People coming into care homes to do other work unless they have a medical exemption, for example: healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors.

Whilst we await further guidance, we encourage all providers to ensure the recording of staff vaccines is up to date on the NHS Capacity Tracker for all staff, including agency staff.

We will share more information as it becomes available.

NHS App – ‘COVID-19 Passport’

The government has published guidance on how you can show proof of your COVID vaccine status when travelling abroad through the NHS app. 

Go to the East Sussex CCG website to find out more.

For all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccinations, visit: Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

One million people in Sussex have now received their COVID-19 vaccine - Thank you!

Official figures released on Thursday 27 May 2021, show that one million people in Sussex have now received their Covid-19 vaccination.

This incredible milestone has been reached just 24 weeks into the vaccination programme.

Please see this letter of thanks [233.3 KB] [docx] from all the leaders from the NHS and Local Authorities to everyone, including all our care providers, who have been part of the programme and for their contribution to its success.

To celebrate this milestone a video has also been created showing key moments of our vaccination programme which you can watch here.

For more on this story, and more updates on the Sussex vaccination programme, go to the Sussex Health & Care Partnership website

Queries about vaccination

Vaccination discussions for all care staff

All care staff are invited to join an informal drop-in session to discuss the COVID-19 vaccination.  

The aim of the sessions is to provide a space for discussion and to answer any questions you may have about this topic. Attendees can pop in and stay for as long as they wish, no obligation to stay for the whole session.

Session are organised and led by our Public Health Infection Control Advisors, whose roles are to support care homes and their staff, as well as other care workers, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sessions also feature special guests providing expert clinical advice on any questions raised during the discussion.

Details of the next available session: 

Thursday 1st July at 14:00pm to 15:00pm

This session includes talks from Dr Thomas (East Sussex CCG Care Home GP Support), a long COVID case study, and a COVID Vaccine Champion

Go to Eventbrite to register for this session.

More dates will also be added soon. 

For more information email: Maria Stack 

East Sussex County Council has a dedicated email for vaccination queries. Email Vaccination Team

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

Vaccination booking slots for health and social care staff

Frontline social care and health workers were identified as being in the second highest group for COVID-19 vaccinations and should receive the vaccination as soon as possible.

This includes:

  • all NHS staff from primary (including general practice and general dental practice) community and secondary care.
  • staff of independent and third sector health and care providers.
  • care and care home staff in public, private and not for profit sectors.

All eligible health and social care workers can use the National Booking Service to book COVID-19 vaccinations if you are not able to receive it through your workplace.

If you are eligible but have not yet had your first vaccination, please go to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccinations website or call 119 today to arrange your appointment.

You no longer need an NHS number to book your vaccination.

When you attend your vaccination appointment as a health and care worker, you will need to take the following identification:

  • A work photo ID badge or other photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport.
  • If you do not have the above, you can request a personalised eligibility letter by emailing our Vaccination Team.

There is a high demand for appointments and they fill very quickly. If appointment slots are unavailable when you first look, please check back as further slots are being added all the time.

You must book an appointment. Do not attend without one as you will not be vaccinated.

As the vaccine may not be suitable for everyone, you’ll be asked to complete a pre-screening questionnaire before your appointment. There is more information about the vaccine in these guides for healthcare workers and social care staff.

If you have any questions, email: sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net.

Second vaccinations and FAQs

For information on second doses and frequently asked questions about vaccination, see:

Health and care workforce vaccinations

Evidence reports on COVID-19 vaccination

Public Health England analysis indicates that the COVID-19 vaccination programme prevented 10,400 deaths in those aged 60 and older in England up to the end of March, an additional 4,300 since the previous update.

The report shows there is now increasing evidence that vaccines help to reduce transmission. It is therefore likely that an even higher number of deaths will have been prevented by the vaccination programme.

Resources about COVID-19 vaccination

NHS Sussex Health and Care Partnership – Vaccination briefings

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

Videos about vaccination

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

Video 1 - Explaining COVID-19 vaccine

Dr Manon Ragonnet-Cronin, MRC Fellow, Imperial College London talks to those who work and support vulnerable adults about the vaccine.

Video 2 - Answering questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Dr Ragonnet-Cronin answers key questions that health and social care workers may also find useful.

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 resources in accessible formats. The materials are comprised of HTML, 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

COVID-19 Easy Read vaccination leaflets

All of the leaflets have been translated into 18 languages, 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.

DHSC Vaccine communications resources for Adult Social Care

Colleagues at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) have produced a suite of new resources to help care managers reassure their staff about having the vaccine. These include a briefing leaflet for care managers, a Q&A, downloadable 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 the 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)

Please see Personal Assistants for information on PPE for PAs.

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. This link will always go straight to the most up-to-date version of the guidance. 

This guidance is intended for all care workers working in care homes in England. It can also be applied to visitors or essential care-givers within the care home setting

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

Recent key changes are stated at the top of the guidance, as follows: 

18 May 2021

Added note explaining that the infographics are being reviewed and will be updated shortly in line with the guidance.

17 May 2021

Updated to clarify when to change face masks, difference between source control and PPE and updated section on waste including PPE.

Webinar on updates to this guidance

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

A recording of this webinar can be viewed at any time, here:

Recording of the Webinar - COVID-19: How to work safely in care homes (held on 18.05.21) 

The full guidance provides a minimum standard on PPE use. Organisations which adopt practices that differ from those stated in the national guidance are responsible for ensuring safe systems of work, including completing a risk assessment.

PPE guidance for Home Care (Domiciliary Care)

COVID-19: How to Work Safely in Domiciliary Care 

The COVID-19: How to Work Safely in Domiciliary Care on determining the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to use, is regularly updated. This link will always go straight to the most up-to-date version of the guidance. 

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

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

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

Recent key changes are stated at the top of the guidance, as follows:

18 May 2021

Added note explaining that the infographics are being reviewed and will be updated shortly in line with the guidance.

6 April 2021

Introduced recommendations to change PPE after each episode of personal care, and new recommendations around use of eye protection when delivering personal care within 2 metres. Guidance provided in HTML format only.

Respiratory mask fit testing

During periods of sustained transmission, Public Health England (PHE) recommend the use of respiratory protective equipment when undertaking any aerosol generating procedure (AGPs) regardless of symptoms or suspicion of COVID-19. The country remains in a period of sustained transmission. FFP3 or P3 respirators are recommended for use as respiratory protective equipment during aerosol generating procedures and require a fit test prior to use.

What do I need to know about fit testing for FFP3 (and FFP2/N95), Respiratory Protective Equipment?

It is the employer’s responsibility under Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 that staff required to wear disposable FFP3 (or reusable P3 respirators) should have access to them. Fit testing is a method for checking that a specific model and size of tight-fitting facepiece matches the wearer’s facial features and seals adequately to the wearer’s face. It will also help to identify unsuitable facepieces which should not be used. Staff must understand how to create and check the seal every time it is worn.

How to book a mask fit

East Sussex County Council have a service level agreement with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to provide Respiratory FFP3 mask fit testing. To make an appointment either email: esht.maskfiteastbourne@nhs.net or call 01323 417 400 (ext 4715).

National PPE guidance


Test and trace

Test and Trace Support Payment scheme – updated

You might be able to get a payment of £500 if you’re on a low income, have been told to self-isolate because of coronavirus (COVID-19) and you cannot work from home.

You must be employed or self-employed to get the payment.

The Government’s Test and Trace Support Payment scheme guidance was updated on 22 March to reflect the following:

  • You can now claim for up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period.
  •  The scheme has been extended to parents and guardians who need to take time off work to care for a child who is self-isolating.

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

For information on how to apply through your local district or borough council, see Support with self-isolation for low-income households.

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, was changed from 14 to 10 days on 14 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 has been published to support 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

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 was updated on 18 June and these changes apply 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

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 updated guidance for people in supported living which also applies from 21 June 2021.

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

CQC to publish data on COVID-19 deaths in care homes

The CQC have announced that they plan to publish data on the number of COVID-19 related deaths notifications they have received from every care home location in England, over the course of the pandemic, as well as how many death notifications received within local authority areas. This information is being released as the result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. CQC plan to contact providers directly to check this data prior to publication, which is expected to be in late July.

The Registered Care Association in Sussex have written a useful briefing for members which they are sharing with others in the care sector in East Sussex for information.

You can read the briefing on the Registered Care Association in Sussex website here.

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.


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) 

Care for people who lack capacity

The Government have published guidance for looking after people who lack mental capacity.

It's aimed at health and social care staff in who are caring for, or treating, a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity during the coronavirus outbreak.

It focuses on new scenarios and potential ‘deprivations of liberty’ created by the outbreak and includes a decision-making flow chart.

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.

Mental health support

Sussex Mental Healthline should be used if someone has significant and escalating mental health concerns. It’s now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to people of all ages and their carers. Phone: 0300 5000 101. See our mental health directory for other services operating in East Sussex.

Health in Mind have put together  an information sheet [75.0 KB] [docx] on information about what to look for and where to go for help if people are concerned about their emotional wellbeing due to COVID-19.

Bereavement support

St Michael’s bereavement service – Hastings & Rother

St Michael’s Hospice bereavement service is offering bereavement counselling and support by phone to adults in Hastings and Rother. You do not need to have had any previous contact with the hospice to access their support. To access the service, fill in the form on the website or phone 01424 456 361 and leave a message. A bereavement counsellor will call back the same or next working day.

St Wilfred’s Hospice bereavement service

St. Wilfrid’s Hospice have extended their adult bereavement support to the whole community, beyond those directly linked to the hospice, which includes supporting anyone working in health and social care.

  • People can self-refer via Wilfrid’s website or ring 01323 434 251 to ask for a call back regarding bereavement support.
  • Health and Care Professionals can make a referral.
  • The hospice’s Seahorse Project continues to accept referrals for bereaved children aged 6 to 17.

Bereavement help and guidance

  • Sussex Bereavement Helpline is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm on 0300 111 2141.

  • The Good Grief Trust signposts to a choice of immediate, tailored, local and national support. This includes a free coronavirus bereavement crisis and support line, available from 8am-8pm on 0800 2600400

  • The government has published What to when someone dies guidance to help bereaved families, friends or next of kin make important decisions if they have lost someone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accessing healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • GP surgeries in East Sussex have transformed how they work and have created new, dedicated sites so people with COVID-19 symptoms can be seen safely.
  • SignLive has been introduced in every GP surgery in East Sussex. This means people who are Deaf can contact their GP surgery through the free to use SignLive app.

If you’re unwell and need medical help:

  • For help from a GP – use your GP surgery’s website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery. Don’t go to the practice in person unless you’re told to do so after an initial assessment.
  • For urgent medical help – use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.
  • For life-threatening emergencies – call 999 for an ambulance.
  • If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Volunteer support

Are you working with people who need help with collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies or a ‘check in and chat’ phone call to help combat isolation and loneliness? Vulnerable people and their families can now self-refer to get support by calling 0808 196 3646. Please note, this is only for individuals identified as high risk who have received a letter asking them to self-isolate.

Referrers to the NHS Volunteer Responders and Royal Voluntary Service support can now make ‘bulk’ referrals using the Goodsam app. This means that providers can refer multiple requests for support at the same time, rather than entering each individually.

Advocates

In East Sussex, Pohwer Advocates are still visiting mental health units, hospitals and care homes for face to face meetings where possible. They are also available on Zoom, Skype as well as phone, text and email. Please do contact them for information or support on 0300 456 2370 or email pohwer@pohwer.net.

Adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults

Supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults guidance has been published for care workers and personal assistants.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has information for care staff supporting adults with learning disabilities or autistic adults.

Easy read COVID-19 guides are available for use by your services. They include the latest government rules, advice for people clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, and how to keep well and look after your mental health. These easy read guides help people with learning disabilities to understand the support available.

Annual health checks are still available for most people aged 14 and older with a learning disability. The web page includes a video and easy read information.

Flu vaccinations: Some people with a learning disability can be more susceptible to flu and can go on to develop more serious complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Anyone with a learning disability is entitled to a free vaccination. Becky Sparks is a learning disability nurse who works in the South East who has recorded a video called Importance of getting a flu jab for those with learning disabilities to talk to them about the importance of having their flu jab.

Free access to online BSL interpreters

SignHealth and InterpreterNow are working together to provide free access to online British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreters for Deaf people. BSL Health Access facilitates communication in health-related situations such as GPs, dentists, pharmacies, opticians, NHS hospitals and any health-care related appointments. The service is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it’s free!

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.

COVID-19 training and webinars

Upcoming local meetings and webinars

Webinar: Care home huddles for East Sussex

These clinician-lead sessions provide COVID-19 updates for residential and nursing homes.

Care home huddles are held fortnightly on Thursdays from 11am to 12.30pm.

Dates of the next meetings are:

  • Thursday 17 June
  • Thursday 1 July

Join the MS Teams meeting

Run by the local NHS and the council, the huddles offer care home managers an opportunity to receive updates on relevant guidance from a Clinical Lead and to ask questions.

For more information, or to submit questions, please contact: esxccg.carehomehuddle@nhs.net

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.

Training: Sussex CCG Prevention Training for Health and Social Care Staff

Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are offering Prevention and Control of Infection training which has been specifically developed for people working in Sussex based community care homes, hospices, domiciliary care, and personal care assistants.

This virtual training meets your Statutory mandatory basic infection prevention training requirement, and covers causes of infection, cleaning methods, waste disposal and infection control laws and policies.

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

Please go to Eventbrite for more information and to choose and book your space.

National webinars and training resources

Skills for Care – training

Skills for Care has developed a series of webinars for managers focusing on human resources during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

COVID-19 essential training: is targeted and fully funded support for providers and personal assistants to meet the essential aspects of core and mandatory training needed at this time.

Outbreaks in care homes animations

Animations have been produced in response to supporting care home staff in preventing future care home outbreaks. These provide further information about:

  • how to practice good infection prevention and control both in an out of work
  • understanding the testing process in care homes
  • more general positive messaging about the seasonal flu and Covid vaccinations available to care home staff.

You can find the animations on the NHS website: Information for professionals – care homes.

Care home visiting in a COVID-19 world – resources for 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.

The National Care Forum has worked with care providers and residents and relatives organisations to develop these Partners in Care resources to support meaningful visits. It includes:

  • 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 people using care and support to have the opportunity to receive visitors and maintain relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst minimising risk.

Offering some practical solutions based on existing practice and learning, it builds on the work of many months of coalitions of a wide range of organisations calling jointly for meaningful visiting and is designed to support the rights and responsibilities of all involved.

Health Education England e-learning

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

Psychological first aid training

This free online course is available for front line staff and volunteers.

Developed by Public Health England, it supports responders in developing their skills and confidence in providing psychological support to people affected by COVID-19.

It takes around 90 minutes to complete and is in three parts.

Zero Suicide Alliance awareness training

Zero Suicide Alliance offer a range of online awareness courses, which aim to give people a better understanding of the signs to look out for and the skills required to approach someone who is struggling, whether that be through social isolation or suicidal thoughts.

Podcasts – Covid-19 and the care sector

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded we’ve been faced with daily news about the pressure on adult social care, rising need and an undervalued workforce.

This podcast series produced by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) asks how we can change the relationship between the state, services and people.

Infection control

Skills For Care have some useful information and resources for staff on managing infection control during the pandemic:

Skills for Care: Infection prevention and control.


Support for providers

Recruitment

Call to Care staff recruitment programme

Following the Government’s announcement of a national Call to Care programme, we are starting to receive details of people interested in taking up work in Adult Social Care in East Sussex, passed to us via the national online registration portal.

Recruitment via this route is supported by fast-track Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, as well as a rapid online induction training programme through Skills for Care to help induct and train redeployed staff and those who are new starters to the social care workforce.

Care home and home care managers are encouraged to share your vacancy requirements by emailing: Adult Social Care Training

The more information you can provide about the vacancy, the better.

After undertaking initial screening to confirm basic information and interest, the ASC training team will aim to match individuals so that providers can contact them directly.

Please let us know if you are successful in recruiting by emailing the above address, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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 to support you with recruiting quickly, safely and effectively during the coronavirus pandemic. These draw some key resources and approaches into one place, and let you know where to find more detailed information.

Read the updated tips here:  Top tips for fast track recruitment [434.5 KB] [docx].

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 to support induction of staff and volunteers via endorsed training providers.

Useful support services and resources

Supporting individuals with face coverings and other COVID-19 related challenges

Skills for Care, in partnership with our Adult Social Care Training Team, have developed a consultation guide for staff on how to support people with some COVID-19 challenges, such as wearing face coverings, sanitising their hands and social distancing. 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.

Download the consultation guide and resource list.

Free counselling service for young carers

Due to the continuing Covid restrictions, Care for the Carers Teen Talk phone counselling service has been extended to young carers throughout East Sussex, not just in Hastings and Bexhill.

The project will run until July this year.

Young carers can also self-refer.

To make a referral to the service or to find out more, see Call for Carers Teen Talk for more information, call Care for the Carers on 01323 738390 or email: info@cftc.org.uk

Domestic abuse: advice for employers

SafeLives has practical guidance and resources  for employers whose staff may be experiencing domestic abuse. As always, remind people that if anyone is in immediate danger to call 999 and ask for the police.

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.

Kings College London have developed a new resource, helping adult day centres to unlock lockdown. Its aims to support managers, staff and voluntary coordinators into the ‘new normal’ after the lockdown.

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 help social care providers access practical advice, troubleshoot a technical problem or give in-depth one-to-one support.

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


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.


Health and wellbeing for staff

Support for ethnically diverse citizens during COVID-19

Diversity Resource International is providing community outreach support for ethically diverse citizens of 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 whilst signposting them to further organisations, if required.

If you know of anyone from an ethnic minority that might 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.

Wellbeing information and support 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.

Advice line for registered managers

Skills for Care have launched an advice line and email inbox to support those managing CQC regulated adult social care services through the current crisis. Call 0113 241 1260 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or email RMAdvice@skillsforcare.org.uk.


Updates from East Sussex County Council

Updating the Capacity Tracker

Home Care Providers: Reminder to complete Capacity Tracker updates 

We have recently been contacted by the national Capacity Tracker team who have expressed concerns about how regularly some Home care providers are updating the NHS Capacity Tracker.

We wanted to thank all Home care providers for continuing to update this regularly, and also provide a gentle reminder to please give updates on a daily basis.

Care home vaccinations

It's important that Care Homes regularly update the Capacity Tracker with details of vaccination uptake for residents, staff and full-time staff.

This 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

Also for Care Homes, please ensure both the vacancy and business continuity sections are updated at least once a week and preferably daily.

Help or Advice completing the Capacity Tracker

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

Any other questions please call the national help centre by calling 0191 691 3729.

Update: Infection Control and Rapid Test Fund

Due to the short timeframe between providers receiving the latest round of infection control and rapid test funding, and the first report deadline, services that have received the funds will not be required to submit a report on how the funds have been spent by 19 May.

Services will still be required to submit a report in July detailing how they have used the funds and a link to the report will be circulated in advance to complete this return.

For further details, read the full guidance: Infection control and testing fund.

If you have any specific questions, email: ASC Personalisation

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 medicines 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

CCG Survey on new Remote GP Consultation Service

Sussex NHS Commissioners is developing a new remote consultation service to support patients to access their GP Practice by using digital technology including text message, video calls, and online websites.

We want to hear about your experiences of using remote consultations through our survey. The survey should take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

The survey will close on 30 June 2021

If you need this survey in an alternative format or other language, or if you have any queries, please contact the Public Involvement Team at Sussex NHS Commissioners on the following:

Email: sxccg.involvement@nhs.net

Call: 01903 708 411

Post: FREEPOST - RTUZ-ECYG-ERRK

Attn: Public Involvement Team, NHS Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Brighton, BN3 4AH

Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us between 9am – 5pm Monday - Friday through the Video Relay Service (VRS) ‘SignLive’. Simply download the SignLive app at https://signlive.co.uk/login/, register your details, and search for NHS Brighton and Hove in the Community Directory. If the call goes to answerphone please leave a message, with your name and SignLive ID code and we will call you back as soon as possible.

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.

Enhanced health in care homes: Named Clinical Lead

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have provided a letter regarding enhanced health in care homes [329.6 KB] [docx] and named Clinical Leads.

In addition, there are also some useful information that includes a summary of actions for care homes, on the Care Providers Alliance website.

If you have further questions, please bring them up at the local care home huddles and forums, or contact your local CCG primary care team directly.

Public Health bulletins

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

The latest East Sussex Public Health Bulletin can be viewed online here.

To receive the latest Public Heath Bulletin directly, or provide feedback which will be used to inform future issues, please email Public Health.

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.

Care homes: Digital survey

The local NHS is looking at how multi-disciplinary team working between care homes, the NHS and other partners can be better supported by increased use of digital tools and services.

The Enhanced Health in Care Homes Directed Enhanced Service, which is being introduced by the NHS this year, facilitates a proactive model of care centred on the needs of individual residents and their families and care home staff, delivered through collaborative multi-disciplinary team working. Effective use of digital technology is a key enabler of this approach.

We would be grateful if you could spend approximately 10 minutes completing this survey to help inform planning and support for improved digital services.

The survey asks for your contact details in case there is something we need to follow up with you, however this is optional, so please feel free to complete anonymously if you prefer.

For more information about the benefits of digital care please go to the Digital Social Care website.

Previous iPad offer to care homes

Do you have an iPad gifted by NHSX as part of the COVID-19 winter support plan for adult social care?

Last autumn, 11,000 iPads were shared to CQC-registered care homes identified as most in need according to an eligibility criteria, to help residents receive ongoing care and stay connected to loved ones.

Care homes who received these iPads are encouraged to use them to:

  • hold video consultations with health and care professionals
  • connect care home residents with loved ones remotely
  • get direct access to any other tools or systems needed to support the care of residents
  • use NHSmail – a secure NHS internal email service

If you have not yet activated your iPad there is a range of support materials on the Digital Social Care website. This webpage includes weekly support webinars on iPad set-up and troubleshooting; tips and advice on what care homes can use their iPad for, including useful apps; iPad case studies; safety and security while using the iPad; and guidance on using NHSmail and MS Teams with iPads.

COVID-19 quick access guide to accessing NHSmail can be found on the Digital Social Care website.

There is also information about NHSX’s other offers for care providers, including connectivity deals for care homes.