View the latest guidance for community care services.
Central Government guidance for community care services has not changed since 13/3/20. That guidance is here. Not all services are the same and all suggestions will not work for all services. Consider your local circumstances and how you will adopt and adapt. Let your local Social Services Department know what you are doing with regards to service changes. Talk to them about the possibilities of staff sharing with other agencies.
This guidance is aimed at local Age UKs providing care services to older people, but may be applied to many types of service where close contact and support is provided for older people in centres or in their own homes. Care Services include: Any service registered with the Care Quality Commission, Day Services, non-registered Foot Care services.
PPE for staff in regulated services
This is in short supply at present. However, this message was released by DHSC on 18th March regarding the issue of PPE:
We know that supplies of personal protective equipment to the care sector is fundamental for the good care of individuals with suspected symptoms of Covid-19.
We are clear that no wholesaler has been asked to prioritise NHS provision over the care sector nor should they be doing so.
Free distribution of fluid repellent facemasks from the pandemic flu stock will start this today Wednesday 18th March, with every care home and homecare provider receiving at least 300 facemasks. We anticipate the distribution will be complete by next Tuesday. This is aimed at tiding over the initial rise in demand following the change of guidance on facemasks last week. Providers are not required to take action; the stock will be delivered to them.
We are working rapidly with wholesalers to ensure a longer-term supply of all aspects of personal protective equipment, including gloves, aprons, facemasks and hand sanitiser. For future PPE requirements, care providers should order PPE from their usual suppliers.
If care providers have immediate concerns overs their supply of PPE, there is now a dedicated line for you, the health and social care sector.
The National Supply Disruption line
Tel: 0800 915 9964
In the future, if a care provider is unable to get PPE from their normal supplier, the supplier is will be asked to report this to the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) team (as above), who can advise on alternative suppliers. [End]
Staffing: The primary need is to protect your workforce, as without them there can be no care service for older people.
- If you haven’t already, plan to reduce the amount of travel your staff have to undertake to do their job. Can patches or routes be changed?
- Plan to reduce the number of different clients a single staff member sees in a day. How could this be done?
- Calculate the minimum number of care staff you could deliver a service with
- Consider how full PPE (aprons, masks, gloves and use of hand sanitiser) could be acquired (Age UK is trying to help with this and see above statement from DHSC) and how you will prioritise its issue once you have it
- Where possible issue full PPE to care staff before others
- Ensure staff apply rigorous infection control procedures, particularly washing of hands and surfaces
- Any member of staff showing symptoms or returning from a high risk country should be immediately removed from a service and told to self-isolate for 7 days
Clients: Plan to prioritise service delivery to those who need it most.
- Client risk assessments and care plans need to be up to date
- Consider which clients have low needs and therefore could have a reduced or even suspended service so you can deploy your staff elsewhere
- Consider how you might be able to support some clients remotely, via telephone instead of face to face
- Consider your higher needs clients and how they will be cared for by a PPE protected workforce, particularly if they show symptoms
- If clients do show symptoms, could they be isolated and still receive a service? Even if it was just shopping
- Day services should consider closure, part closure (fewer days) or a reduction in service (e.g. only for those with higher needs or no family)
- Continuation of the service for people with no symptoms by staff with no symptoms is possible, but do you need to deploy them elsewhere to cover any off sick?
- Ensure full communication with families where relevant so that they understand your service’s situation and intent, particularly around any proposals to reduce the service level
- Understand how families may be able to help you with their relatives’ care and ask them to have clients at home where possible
- Consider the role of any recent micro-volunteers, where this could be risk free – think about DBS, GDPR issues
- If clients have symptoms, then ensure they use masks also, when receiving care – DHSC Guidance actually states that masks are not much use for protecting staff and are better used on clients
Note there is no failsafe way for you to provide services and keep everybody healthy. One thing to consider in your planning is that staff who have contracted Covid-19 and then recovered fully, will be able to return to work normally with appropriate GP sign off.