This page contains the latest known information and advice for adult care providers in Somerset.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, as is the advice and support available. Please return to this page regularly.
Reporting cases of COVID-19 in care settings
If you suspect or have a coronavirus outbreak in a care setting (one or more resident/s or staff affected), contact Public Health England via 0300 303 8162 (option 9 for a Covid call).
All cases involving more than one person, or any residents, must also be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org immediately and the team kept informed of any escalations.
If you have a COVID-19 concern or query affecting your service, or are not receiving email briefings, please contact our Incident Room via ASCCOVID19@somerset.gov.uk. You can also phone us on 07790 577338.
Please note – Providers should continue to use Somerset Direct for individual cases / individual escalations that do not relate to COVID-19.
Guidance on the Coronavirus is changing on a very frequent basis to reflect the latest advice and developing situation.
All Government updates can be found here:
Further information of particular interest and relevance to adult social care providers is listed here:
- Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 (Public Health England and Department of Health and Social Care, updated 21/07/2021)
- Moving to step 4 of the roadmap (Cabinet Office, 19/07/2021)
- Guidance for local authorities and clinical commissioning groups in the delivery of direct payments and personal health budgets (Department of Health and Social Care, 19/07/2021)
- Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: full guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 19/07/2021)
- Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 23/06/2021)
- Getting help with daily activities outside your home during coronavirus (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 21/05/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing home care (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 17/05/2021)
- COVID19: ethical framework for adult social care (28/04/2021)
- Guidance for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) (22/04/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for care homes (updated 01/04/2021)
- Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 03/03/2021)
- Adult social care: our COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021 (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 14/12/2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): reducing risk in adult social care (01/12/2020)
- Leaflets for social care staff to support the annual flu programme (Public Health England, updated 19/11/2020)
- Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce: report on first phase of COVID-19 pandemic (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 12/10/2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): reuse of medicines in a care home or hospice (Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and NHS Improvement, updated 02/09/2020)
- Joint statement on personalised approaches to care and treatment (20/05/2020)
Public Health England Resources
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Centre This is a repository of resources and communications toolkits coving all areas of the response to COVID-19, including infection prevention and control and vaccinations produced by Public Health England that is regularly updated, including some in partnership with other organisations including Carers UK, Rethink, the Stroke association and Mencap.
- COVID-19 Resource Pack. This will download a zip file that contains posters, letter templates and other resources produced by Public Health England
As you will all be aware, the provision of three vaccines against Covid-19 has now received approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and as such we are now in the process of undertaking vaccination programme in Somerset. A link to the regulatory approval for each vaccine has been included below:
- Regulatory approval of Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca) (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, 19/07/2021)
- Regulatory approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, updated 09/07/2021)
- Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, updated 25/06/2021)
Amongst our highest priority is the delivery of the vaccines to care home staff. Through vaccinating all our staff, we aim to help protect individuals from becoming unwell with, or dying from, Covid-19 disease, and it is therefore vital that we communicate the importance of this programme with staff who work with some of the most vulnerable members of the community. Vaccination is key to reducing the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks occurring in the home.
Through the clinical trials on many tens of thousands of people people there were no significant adverse events. Some people did experience a painful or heavy arm where they had the injection, felt tired or had a mild fever for a couple of days. These are common side effects following any vaccination, and staff in the vaccination centres will be mindful of these and do all they can to help staff remain as comfortable as possible following their vaccination.
During the vaccination delivery the vaccination teams will maintain the full range of measures to keep everyone safe from Covid-19, staff giving the vaccine will be wearing personal protective equipment and will abide by all the necessary cleaning and disinfection requirements.
We have included links bellow to the patient leaflets for you to share with your staff, these should address most of the questions that staff may have. Vaccination is not mandatory, but we urgently need your help to encourage everyone to accept the vaccination, it not only protects them, but it significantly helps us all keep those most vulnerable in Somerset safe.
Social care workforce vaccinations
We are very pleased to say that the vast majority of social care workforce vaccinations are now complete, and want to say a huge thanks to you all for making this possible.
In order to pick up the remaining staff who have yet to be vaccinated these can be booked via the National Booking Service. Staff can self present once they have completed the request form at the link below. We would ask that staff allow at least 24hrs between submitting the request and attending the two sites. They will also need to provide ID which will be checked against the report that we will provide to the site on a daily basis.
NHS Somerset CCG is also been providing walk in vaccination clinics at different venues throughout the County, please visit their website for details of dates and times.
If you have any questions or issues regarding vaccination please contact us at ASCCovid19@somerset.gov.uk and we will do all we can to support you.
Vaccination for 17 year old carers.
We are aware that there are a small number of carers who are aged 17yrs and therefore only able to receive Pfizer vaccine. We are working to provide opportunities for these individuals through the two hospital hubs who hold Pfizer towards the end of this month.
If you have any staff that are 17yrs and able to receive vaccine please can you collate details and forward them to us via email@example.com we will look to use them for short notice cancellations and as such we will need, name, date of birth, mobile contact number and email address.
Vaccination for pregnant women
From 13/05/2021 the National Booking Service will enable pregnant women to book appointments at a site that offers the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine following a series of screening questions.
Help with getting to vaccination appointments
If you have not yet had your vaccination, it might be worth preparing in advance how you will get there. If you are not able to drive yourself, but you have a family member or friend who might be able to support you – it’s always worth having that conversation now.
Somerset County Council is working with bus operators and community transport providers to help vulnerable residents to get to their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
- Current concessionary bus pass rules have been suspended so that bus passes can be used on all public services before 9.30am. This came into effect from February 1.
- Somerset County Council is working with Community Transport and Slinky Demand Responsive Services across Somerset to allow free travel for bus pass holders when attending vaccination appointments. You can find information and contact details for Community Transport Services on Travel Somerset
If you are concerned about getting to an appointment, or need other help or support during the pandemic, please phone the Coronavirus helpline on 0300 790 6275. Lines are open from 8am to 6pm, seven days a week.
Vaccination Buddy programme now live
In your day to day work you may come into contact with people who have questions and concerns about the Covid-19 vaccination. Public Heath Somerset has launched a Vaccine Buddy programme in partnership with Spark Somerset. This programme provides a trained a team of volunteer Vaccination Buddies who can offer 1-2-1 telephone support to people who are worried or unsure about having the vaccine.
The Buddies come from all walks of life and have the right skills to support people to make informed decisions about having the Covid-19 vaccination.
Individuals can be referred (or self-refer) to the scheme and a fully trained Vaccination Buddy will then contact them by phone to discuss their concerns and offer information and reassurance.
As we are sure you will be aware, there has recently been significant media coverage regarding the Astra Zeneca vaccine and an associated potential risk of the development of blood clots within the brain. It is therefore important that we work with you and our staff to ensure that the correct information is provided and that any potential disruption to vaccine uptake is managed appropriately.
What is important is to stress that whilst a potential link between the Astra Zeneca vaccine and a very rare adverse event has been identified, we need to consider this in its entirety. In a high exposure risk environment such as the Care Sector, as can be seen from the graphic below even in the highest risk group (20-29yrs) the relevant risk from the vaccine at 1.1 is significantly below the relevant risk from the vaccine at 6.9. The vaccine remains very safe and staff within this group who have yet to accept first dose will have an option of an alternative vaccine
What is clear from the evidence provided is that all cases so far identified have followed first dose vaccination and generally all cases had identified symptoms within the first few days post vaccination and all within 21 days. Therefore if you have had first dose vaccination with Astra Zeneca and have had no significant adverse effect, then there is very little risk from the second dose, your body has in many respects shown its tolerance of the vaccine through first dose and as such the risk reduces even further.
We are therefore very keen to support staff in continuing to accept second dose vaccination, we know that the link between Covid and deaths is being broken through vaccination, and it is vital if we are to continue to protect those we care for that we continue to follow clinical guidance and roll out second dose vaccination.
- COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting (Public Health England, updated 14/06/2021)
- COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting (Summary) (Public Health England, 07/04/2021)
- Communicating the potential benefits and harms of the Astra Zeneca COVID 19 vaccine (University of Cambridge, 07/04/2021)
- Public Health Somerset has produced a ‘myth-buster’ sheet about some of the vaccine myths that we are aware of for you to share with your staff.
- Please don’t contact your GP surgery to ask about vaccinations, they will contact you, unnecessary calls are jamming GP switchboards and as such are stopping people who need urgent appointments from getting through.
- You cannot choose which vaccine you want, they are very safe and very effective.
- The previous advice that anyone who carries an EpiPen or has a significant history of an anaphylactic-type reaction should not receive a vaccination has now been updated and now only contraindicates based on a specific allergy to one of the ingredients contained within the vaccine (see below). This new guidance has been developed following the vaccinations carried out in the UK so far and the ever growing evidence base this generates.
Vaccine contra indications
It is important that we look to vaccinate as many staff as possible, we do appreciate some are nervous, but these vaccines ate incredibly safe. Although it is true that they were completed in record time, we had a head start, Covid-19 is a Coronavirus and we have been working on Coronavirus vaccines for many years. Vaccines are normally worked on by small groups of scientists with limited funding and infra-structure; this has been an international programme with unlimited resource, worked on by hundreds of scientists 24/7. No staff who are currently symptomatic or isolating should attend for vaccination until such time as their isolation period ends. Staff should attend individually and not share transport to the hospital. Staff will need to wear a face covering when being vaccinated. All staff will need to be registered with a GP and have an NHS Number (if staff can’t access their NHS Number it can be looked up on the day). It is important that staff have access to and read the patient advice leaflets for further details of indications and contra-indications Leaflets: Videos:
General information about COVID-19 vaccines
Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It is important that we look to vaccinate as many staff as possible, we do appreciate some are nervous, but these vaccines ate incredibly safe. Although it is true that they were completed in record time, we had a head start, Covid-19 is a Coronavirus and we have been working on Coronavirus vaccines for many years. Vaccines are normally worked on by small groups of scientists with limited funding and infra-structure; this has been an international programme with unlimited resource, worked on by hundreds of scientists 24/7.
No staff who are currently symptomatic or isolating should attend for vaccination until such time as their isolation period ends. Staff should attend individually and not share transport to the hospital. Staff will need to wear a face covering when being vaccinated. All staff will need to be registered with a GP and have an NHS Number (if staff can’t access their NHS Number it can be looked up on the day).
It is important that staff have access to and read the patient advice leaflets for further details of indications and contra-indications
People aged 70 and over, including care home residents, identified by the new QCOVID risk assessment model will have received this letter advising them to shield. Please see information supplied by Government below regarding the QCovid model and the reasons for including more people at this time. You should continue to follow guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable (Public Health England and Department of Health and Social Care, updated 21/07/2021)already in place and if you have any concerns or queries please contact us via ASCCOVID19@somerset.gov.uk.
- QCOVID is a new predictive risk model to help clinicians identify adults with multiple risk factors that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Research was developed by subgroup of NERVTAG, led by the University of Oxford and funded by National Institute for Health Research.
- Individuals identified through the COVID-19 population risk assessment, using the QCovid® model, have been added to the Shielding Patient List (SPL) on a precautionary basis.
- Individuals aged 19-69 within this group started being added to the SPL last week, enabling them to be prioritised for a vaccination.
- This week, individuals who are 70 and over, as well as residents of care homes, have been added to the SPL. Please note, this does not change any guidance already in place for care homes and their residents.
Development of QCOVID
- We are continually learning more about COVID-19 and the factors that lead to poor outcomes including death and hospitalisation.
- An expert subgroup of NERVTAG was commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer to develop a predictive risk model, to enable a more sophisticated approach to clinical risk based on multiple risk factors.
- The new risk assessment model came out of research funded by the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) and was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on 20 October.
- This model combines a number of characteristics to estimate the risk of catching and then being hospitalised or dying from COVID-19. These include age, sex registered at birth, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), and specific health conditions and treatments.
- Refining the model and working through how we might apply it as accurately as possible, has been complex and challenging. This world leading approach has been developed at unprecedented pace over some months, whilst simultaneously aiming to meet the highest standards of evidence, clinical safety and technical assurance.
- The model has been applied to medical records of NHS patients in England.
- This has recently enabled us to help identify people who may be at high risk of becoming seriously unwell from coronavirus because of a combination of their individual characteristics and their underlying health conditions.
- We want to provide vaccination more quickly to them and also offer further advice and support. The easiest way for us to ensure early vaccination for this group is to include them within the list of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (also known as the Shielded Patient List).
- People may feel that at this stage of the pandemic, when rates of infection overall are declining, the advice is not relevant. However, we think it is important that this group are aware of their risk status and of the support available to them, both now and for any future changes in the pandemic so they can make an informed choice themselves. Their GP will also be notified.
- The COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment, powered by the QCovid® model, uses data held centrally by the NHS from a number of sources including general practice.
- People who may be high risk who are not registered with a GP practice are included and will be communicated with and added to the SPL in the same way.
- Recognising the current pressures on the health system, there is no action required of clinicians for these additions to the SPL to take effect. As now, GPs have the option to add or remove patients from the SPL, based on their clinical judgement.
- The new predictive risk model has been developed through research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
- The findings from the development of the QCovid® model were published in the BMJ. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) independently validated the performance of the QCovid® model. The ONS has shown that the model performs in the ‘excellent’ range, and accurately identifies patients at high risk from COVID-19. This means we are fully confident that the model is robust and meets the highest standards of evidence.
- NHS Digital have developed the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment using the QCovid® model. It has been through a functional assurance process which aims to ensure that the QCovid® model has been used correctly, works as expected and produces accurate outputs.
- The model has been approved for use as a Class 1 medical device with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk assessment (NHS Digital, 25/03/2021)
- Department of Health and Social Care:
- National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026 (updated 22/07/2021)
- Alcohol and drug misuse prevention and treatment guidance (updated 21/03/2021)
- COVID-19: supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults (updated 19/07/2021)
- COVID-19: providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults (updated 19/07/2021)
- Supported living services during coronavirus (COVID-19) (updated, 16/07/2021)
- Bridging the gap: Transitional Safeguarding and the role of social work with adults (03/06/2021)
- Supporting people living with dementia through safeguarding processes (updated, 31/03/2021)
- COVID-19 testing in general practice (04/03/2021)
- Restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings (updated 03/03/2021)
- Vitamin D and care homes guidance (24/02/2021)
- NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&E):
- Updates to general practice regarding COVID-19 (updated 20/07/2021)
- Updates to community pharmacy regarding COVID-19 (20/07/2021)
- Dental standard operating procedure: Transition to recovery (updated 16/07/2021)
- Dementia wellbeing in the COVID-19 pandemic (15/06/2021)
- Mental Health needs in Care Homes, a presentation by Dr Amanda Thompsell, National specialty advisor in older adult’s mental health NHSE&I (added 21/05/2021)
- Mental health, learning disabilities and autism guidance (15/03/2021)
- Third phase of NHS response to COVID-19 (updated 13/10/2020)
- Guidance for healthcare teams on the release of adult patients from the secure and detained estate during coronavirus (19/05/2020)
- Workforce guidance for mental health, learning disabilities and autism, and specialised commissioning services during the coronavirus pandemic (08/04/2020)
- A letter clarifying the use of the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) and the use of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) with younger patients, those with a stable long term physical need, learning disability or autism (03/04/2020)
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE):
- COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing COVID-19 (updated 03/06/2021)
- COVID-19 rapid guideline: rheumatological autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic bone disorders (updated 31/03/2021)
- Safeguarding adults in care homes (26/02/2021)
- Creating a safeguarding culture: A quick guide for registered managers of care homes (2021)
- Developing and implementing guidance for staff delegating clinical tasks to informal carers and relatives during the COVID-19 pandemic (September 2020)
- COVID-19 rapid guideline: dialysis service delivery (updated 11/09/2020)
- COVID-19 rapid guideline: interstitial lung disease (15/05/2020)
- COVID-19 rapid guideline: chronic kidney disease (15/05/2020)
- Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)
- Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
- Delivering safe, face-to-face adult day care (updated 18/05/2021)
- Best interests decisions: A COVID-19 quick guide (updated 18/05/2021)
- Best interests decisions: A COVID-19 quick guide (updated 18/05/2021)
- Prevention in social care (May 2021)
- COVID-19: Supporting autistic people and people with learning disabilities (updated July 2020)
- Office of the Public Guardian
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Office of the Public Guardian response (updated 19/07/2021)
- Making and registering an LPA during the coronavirus outbreak (updated 19/07/2021)
- Being a deputy or attorney during the coronavirus outbreak (updated 19/07/2021)
- How to register an EPA during the coronavirus outbreak (updated 21/06/2021)
- NHS and social care staff: check if a COVID-19 patient has an attorney or deputy (Updated 31/03/2021)
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
- Medical devices given exceptional use authorisations during the COVID-19 pandemic (updated 20/07/2021)
- British Geriatrics Society:
- Guide on Managing the COVID-19 pandemic in care homes (updated 18/11/2020)
- Coronavirus and older people resource series
- Identifying older people most vulnerable to COVID-19 (07/09/2020)
- Atypical Covid-19 presentations in older people – the need for continued vigilance (updated 14/04/2020)
- Managing a fall that may require an ambulance during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 2020)
- Health and Care Video Library: How to use a pulse oximeter at home (added 28/05/2021)
- University College London have produced a decision guide to support practitioners and family carers of people with dementia during Covid-19 as part of the NHS England Dementia wellbeing in the COVID-19 pandemic guide (added 21/05/2021)
- National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): Patients living with dementia who ‘walk with purpose or intent’ in the COVID-19 crisis (22/04/2020)
- Video (8 min): Meeting the Needs of People with Dementia Living in Care Homes during Covid-19
- The British Psychological Society: Supporting older people and people living with dementia during self-isolation (08/04/2020)
- Real Talk: COVID-19: Evidence-based advice for difficult conversations (23/03/2020)
- VitalTalk: COVID communication guide
- Digital Social Care: Covid-19 Guidance
Guidance for Coronavirus (COVID-19): looking after people who lack mental capacity (Department of Health and Social care, updated 27/04/2021) for health and social care staff who are caring for or treating a person who lacks mental capacity during the pandemic was updated on 27/04/2021.
The ability of our Local Authority DoLS team to carry out assessments and provide authorisations is severely impaired by understandable access restrictions imposed by care homes and hospitals.
The following approach has been adopted as Somerset County Council policy during the pandemic:
- The DoLS team will make case-by-case decisions about whether any particular DoLS assessments must be completed, and will negotiate this accordingly.
- This is only likely to be required in cases where to leave a person without authorisation would put them at some significant risk of harm. There are likely to be safeguarding cases.
- Other part-completed assessments or those awaiting allocation will be put on hold and monitored until the current situation improves.
- The DoLS team will look for alternative methods for conducting assessments where face-to-face contact is not considered appropriate. Discussions are underway about how to conduct some DoLS assessments by phone, but we are also mindful of the need to avoid placing any unnecessary additional pressures upon the time of staff in care settings
From 19/07/2021 all legal restrictions were removed the number of people who can gather both inside and outside. However, all organisations still have a legal duty to manage risk as outlined in Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread (Cabinet Office, 22/07/2021)
Should you require any further advice regarding the steps you should be taking to reduce the transmission risk, please email us at ASCCovid19@somerset.gov.uk.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has published guidance (updated 18/05/2021) commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care to support day services for vulnerable adults to operate in a safe manner, however it is yet to be updated to reflect the changes that came into effect on 19/07/2021. Somerset County Council asks that all day service providers follow the sections of this guidance that have not been superseded by the changes on 19/07/2021, drawing attention to the request for transparency with service users, families, the Local Authority and other providers regarding risk assessments both business wide and for individuals.
All Local Authorities were asked by the Department of Health and Social Care to submit and make public a letter setting out a short overview of its current care setting support activity and forward plans by 29 May 2020. The letter should be accompanied by a short capacity tracker template confirming the current level of provider access to the support offer (self-reported by local regulated care homes), as well as details of issues and support needs.
View the letter and template here
Very many thanks to all those who took the time to respond to our Care Provider Survey during June.
Your feedback and contributions have been enormously helpful to our wider health and care system and we are ensuring the results and themes emerging from it are being heard across the Somerset system, including the ICS People Board, County Council Recovery Board and our operational and strategic Care Sector groups.
We were keen to share with you the overarching themes and responses at our earliest convenience, which you can view here.
We were very pleased to hear that, overall, 88% of you have felt ‘well’ or ‘very well’ supported during the pandemic by health and care system colleagues in Somerset, but absolutely recognise amongst your feedback many of the concerns, asks, wants and needs you still have, particularly in relation to continued communication/engagement with us, help with recruitment and retention, concerns re financial sustainability, and the importance of mental health and wellbeing support.
We would like to remind you of the next Provider Webinar scheduled for Thursday 22 July 2021, 16:00 – 17:00. We will be using this session to explore the survey results in more detail and update you on some of our plans to provide ongoing or improved support in some of these key areas, as well as ensuring time for more general Q&As you may have following national and local developments. We hope you can join us later this month and, in the meantime, find this overarching analysis helpful.
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 22/07/2021
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Niki Shaw (Strategic Manager: Quality & Performance ), Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager: Acutes, Safeguarding and Partnerships) and Liz Green (Health Protection Practitioner, Public Heath Somerset). The agenda included:
- Feedback & Next Steps: Somerset Care Provider Survey (June 2021) – Niki Shaw
- Question & Answers – this was an opportunity for providers to raise any questions they had for Adult Social Care and Public Health colleagues
- Any other business
The Government announced that it has moved to institute a policy of testing all residents prior to admission to care homes, starting with those being discharged from hospital with the NHS having the responsibility for testing these specific patients in advance of timely discharge, and has published Hospital discharge service guidance (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 02/02/2021) including leaflets for patients, the admission and care of people in care homes (Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, Public Heath England and the Care Quality Commission, updated 16/07/2021) and stepdown of infection control precautions within hospitals and discharging COVID-19 patients from hospital to home settings (Public Health England, updated 22/03/2021). On 17/05/2021 the national guidance was updated on Discharge into care homes: designated settings (Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, Public Heath England and the Care Quality Commission, updated 17/05/2021) for people leaving hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are transferring to a care home (this includes working age adults who reside in a care home).
The Government has also published guidance on Hospital discharge and community support: policy and operating model (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 05/07/2021)
The Somerset COVID-19 Local Outbreak Management Plan Dashboard is updated daily with the latest information about infection rates in Somerset. To view the dashboard follow this link.
Visits in to care homes
Welcoming people into care homes from the community inevitably brings infection risk, but this is a risk that care homes can mitigate with appropriate control measures, tailored to each individual site. It is a risk that should always be balanced against the importance of visiting and the benefits it brings to care home residents and their families.
Visiting should be supported and enabled wherever it is possible to do so safely, in line with government guidance and within a care home environment that takes proportionate steps to manage risks. All visitors also have an important role to play – helping to keep their loved ones safe by carefully following the policies described in government guidance, and the practical arrangements that care homes put in place, such as internal risk assessment and infection prevention and control protocols.
Each care home is unique in its physical environment and facilities, and the needs and wishes of their residents. As such, care home managers are best placed to develop their own policies (in consultation with residents and their relatives) to ensure that the visits described in government guidance are provided in the best way for individual residents, their loved ones, and care home staff.
If the provider or manager has any queries regarding visiting, a range of additional support is available. Providers may wish to seek advice from their local Director of Public Health (DPH) or Director of Adult Social Services (DASS), both of whom have an important role to play in supporting visiting, and in supporting the care home to deliver the visits described in this guidance. Additionally, care homes may wish to make use of the resources provided by Care England and Partners in Care, a coalition of providers, relatives and residents organisations facilitated by the National Care Forum.
The Government has published updated guidance on care home visiting (Department of Health and Social Care, 16/07/2021) which came in to effect from 19/09/2021. This includes summary of guidance for visitors (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 16/07/2021). In summary, the guidance states that all care homes, except in the event of an active outbreak, should seek to enable::
- every care home resident can have ‘named visitors’ who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. There is no limit on the number of ‘named visitors’ that a single resident can have, and no nationally set limit on the number who can visit in a single day. These named visitors should remain unchanged, within reason and should comply with the arrangements for testing, PPE and limiting close contact laid out in the guidance on care home visiting (Department of Health and Social Care, 16/07/2021).
- every care home resident can choose to nominate an essential care giver who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs. The essential care giver should be enabled to visit in all circumstances, including if the care home is in outbreak (but not if the essential care giver or resident are COVID-positive).
- named visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum (excluding essential care givers). Physical contact like handholding is acceptable if hand washing protocols are followed. Close personal contact such as hugging presents higher risks but will be safer if it is between people who are double vaccinated, without face-to-face contact, and there is brief contact only.
- care homes can also continue to offer visits to friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows.
- Visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be enabled..
In terms of the arrangements for visits:
- The individual resident, their views, their mental capacity, their needs and wellbeing should be taken into account when decisions about visiting are made, recognising that the care home will need to consider the wellbeing of other residents as well. These decisions should involve the resident, their family and friends and the provider and other relevant professionals such as social workers or clinicians where appropriate. Throughout the government guidance the phrase ‘family and friends’ is used, and this is intended to be a wide-ranging and inclusive term to describe the network of people around the resident who may wish to visit, or whom the resident may wish to meet.
- Care homes are best placed to decide how often and for how long it is possible for visitors to come into the home. This is likely to be determined by practical considerations such as the layout of the home, and the numbers of residents and families who wish to have visits. In practice this is likely to mean that the frequency of visits is limited by setting-specific constraints.
- It is recommended that the care home has a simple booking or appointments system to enable visits. Ad hoc or unannounced visits may not be possible.
- Visits should take place in a well-ventilated room, for example with windows and doors open where it is safe to do so. Providers should consider the use of designated visiting rooms, which are only used by one resident and their visitors at a time and are subject to regular enhanced cleaning and ventilation between visits. Any areas used by visitors should be decontaminated several times throughout the day and providers should avoid clutter to aid cleaning.
- Visitors should wear appropriate PPE as laid out in the guidance on how to work safely in care homes in England (Public Health England, 19/07/2021). This guidance sets out the appropriate levels of PPE for a range of scenarios.
- Visitors should limit contact with residents and staff, and maintain as much distance as possible.
- Vaccination is not mandatory and is not a condition of visiting, although it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take up the opportunity to be vaccinated before conducting visits.
- If there is a restriction to visitors in place, alternative ways of communicating between residents and their families and friends should be offered. The care home should also provide regular updates to residents’ loved ones on their mental and physical health, how they are coping and identify any additional ways they might be better supported, including any cultural or religious needs.
Providers are best placed to design individual visiting arrangements that take account of the needs of their residents and what is possible within the layout and facilities within the home. In this context, the provider must develop a dynamic risk assessment that assesses how the care home can best manage visits safely, and how this is delivered.
This dynamic risk assessment should consider relevant factors relating to the rights and wellbeing of the residents. Any risk assessment should follow the CQC regulatory framework around providing person centred care. It may also be appropriate or necessary for providers to apply different rules for different residents based on an assessment of risk of contracting COVID-19 in relation to such residents, as well as the potential benefits of visits to them. The risk assessment should consider the need to enable essential care giver visits.
Some residents will have particular needs (for example, those who are unable to leave their rooms, those living with dementia or those who may lack relevant mental capacity) which may make it challenging to follow some of the detailed advice in this guidance on the conduct of visits. If so, providers should work with the resident, their family, friends and any volunteers to develop a tailored visiting policy within the principles outlined in government guidance.
In all cases it is essential that visiting happens within a wider care home environment of robust infection prevention and control (IPC) measures. The government has produced infographics which may be useful in supporting visitors to follow good practice with hand hygiene (hand washing or using hand sanitiser) and putting on and taking off PPE.
In the event of an outbreak in a care home, the home should immediately stop visiting (except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life – and for essential care givers) to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors.
All decisions should be taken in light of general legal obligations, such as those under the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998, as applicable. Providers must also have regard to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) ethical framework for adult social care (Department of Health and Social Care, 28/04/2021). The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has regulatory powers that can be used where they have concerns regarding visiting.
Testing of Named Visitors
Testing of visitors onsite at the care home is preferable for assurance purposes. However, recognising that individuals now have access to testing through other routes and visitors may be travelling long distances to visit, care home managers can allow visitors to provide evidence of a recent negative test undertaken through other means, if the test has been taken that same day. Alternative routes may include:
- assisted testing at another lateral flow site such as an asymptomatic testing site (ATS)
- self-testing at home through test kits provided by the care home using packs of 7 test kits (which the MHRA has authorised for self-test use)
- self-testing at home using test kits provided by the government such through a school, workplace, the universal testing offer, or collected from a pharmacy
Wherever the test is conducted, it must be done on the day of the visit. Once the visitor has reported the test, they will receive confirmation of their result by text message (SMS) and email to show proof of result. Visitors should show proof of a negative test result before every visit, such as:
- an email or text from NHS Test and Trace
- a date-stamped photo of the test cartridge itself
If visitors are not able to produce a negative test, they may be asked to reschedule or be prepared to take the test on site.
Care homes do not need to retain records of proof. All tests done both at the care home and when self-testing at home should be reported to the unique organisation number (UON) of the care home and managers should ensure visitors are aware of their UON and the legal duty to report the result.
Any potential visitor who tests positive should immediately leave the premises and self-isolate. They should complete a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which should be provided to them by the care home if testing on site, or ordered by the visitor from the get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) or by calling 119.
The role of an essential care giver and testing arrangements
The essential care giver role is intended as a way of supporting residents to benefit from companionship and additional care and support being provided by someone with a unique personal relationship with the resident, perhaps formed over many years. Essential care givers should be allowed to continue to visit during periods of isolation or where there is an outbreak (unless the essential care giver or resident are COVID-positive).
The essential care giver arrangements are intended for circumstances where the visitor’s presence, or the care they provide, is central to the health and wellbeing of the resident, and their health or wellbeing could deteriorate without it. It is likely that the requirement for this support from the resident’s loved one will already be part of (and documented in) their care plan – although this should not be considered a condition of this type of visit. Managers should not assume that, in order to fulfil this role, an essential care giver must commit to visiting a specific number of times each day or week – the care and support provided may still be critical even if it is not provided every day.
Essential care givers are a central part of delivering the appropriate care and support to the resident, and as such play a role alongside professional members of the care home staff. Additionally, because they will have closer physical contact with the resident, and may spend longer in and around the care home, including areas that other visitors do not enter – it is important that they take further steps to reduce the risks (to themselves to residents and staff members) of infection.
Therefore, these essential care givers will need to follow the following testing arrangements:
- take a minimum of 2 rapid lateral flow tests a week: one rapid lateral flow test on the same day as a PCR test, and one rapid lateral flow test 3 to 4 days later, except in the circumstances relating to testing following a prior positive PCR, outlined below. These rapid lateral flow tests can be done onsite, at an asymptomatic testing site (ATS) or at home with tests that come in packs of 7. These tests should be reported as ‘visitor’ using the care home UON
- take a weekly PCR test and share the result with the home. Care homes should use their existing PCR stocks to test these visitors and these should be registered as ‘staff’ tests using the care home UON and be returned via courier with other staff tests
- be subject to additional testing in line with care home staff should the care home be engaged in rapid response daily testing or outbreak testing. If this includes lateral flow tests, these can be done at home with tests from a pack of 7
This testing must be conducted in accordance with the guidance for care home staff (Department of Health and Social Care, 07/07/2021) on PCR testing, rapid lateral flow testing including rapid response testing, and outbreak testing.
Screening all visitors for symptoms of acute respiratory infection
All visitors should be screened for symptoms of acute respiratory infection before entering. No one who is currently experiencing, or first experienced, coronavirus symptoms in the last 10 days, should be allowed to enter the premises, nor anyone who is a household contact of a case or who has been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or who is in a relevant quarantine period following return from travel. Screening questions that care homes may wish to ask visitors:
- have you been feeling unwell recently?
- have you had recent onset of a new continuous cough?
- do you have a high temperature? A care home may consider providing a temperature check for all visitors to provide confidence to visitors and to staff.
- have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
- have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days? (Note: if that positive test was from a rapid lateral flow test and was followed by a negative PCR test within 2 days, that would not preclude the visitor coming in)
- have you had recent contact (in the last 14 days) with anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or someone with confirmed COVID-19. If yes, should you be self-isolating as a family member or as a contact advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace?
- have you returned from an overseas visit recently and are you still in the quarantine period?
Staff should discuss with visitors any items they wish to bring with them on their visit, such as a gift. It will need to be something that can be easily cleaned by the care home to prevent cross contamination. For example, a box of chocolates that could be sanitised with wipes.
Care homes should support NHS Test and Trace by keeping a temporary record (including address and phone number) of current and previous residents, staff and visitors (including the person/people they interact with – for example if a person visits their loved one who is also visited by a chaplain in the course of the visit), as well as keeping track of visitor numbers and staff.
Visitors who have recently tested positive for COVID-19
Visitors who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 from a PCR test should not routinely be retested within 90 days unless they develop new symptoms or unless specific infection detection and response plans are in place for individuals or in the local area already. This means that some visitors will not need to be tested regularly because they will still fall into this 90-day window. These visitors should use the result of their positive PCR result to show that they are currently exempt from testing until the 90-day period is over following their period of self-isolation. Once the 90-day period is over, visitors should then continue to be tested. They should still continue to follow all other relevant IPC measures throughout these 90 days, including social distancing, maintaining good hand hygiene and wearing PPE.
Visits out of care homes
The national guidance on visits out of care homes (Department of Health and Social Care, 15/07/2021) has been updated to include changes that came in to effect from 19/07/2021.
There are certain types of activity where the risks are inherently higher and the advice is that in these cases the resident should self-isolate on their return (to the care home). This is to ensure that, in the event they have unknowingly become infected while out of the home, they minimise the chances of passing that infection on to other residents and staff. These activities are::
- overnight stays in hospital
- visits assessed to be high-risk following an individual risk assessment
All other visits out of the care home that are not assessed as high risk should be supported, and not subject to advice to self-isolate on return to the care home, subject to an individual risk assessment (see section on individual risk assessments below). Where applicable, attention should also be given to any additional local guidance provided by the local director of public health (DPH) and director of adult social services (DASS).
All precautions relating to COVID-19 (including social distancing and those set out below) should be followed while out of the care home. Where residents are visiting a location with an existing testing regime – for example a workplace, day care centre or education setting – they should participate in the relevant testing regime for that organisation where possible.
Separate guidance is available on the admission and care of people in care homes (Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, Public Heath England and the Care Quality Commission, updated 16/07/2021) for use when planning visits that residents may need to make to a hospital or other healthcare setting.
The following measures can support safe visits out of care homes and to minimise the risk of transmission of infection to care home residents and other people they live with in the care home, the following measures are advised and should be considered for all visits out of care homes:
- if appropriate, residents being accompanied by::
- a member of care home staff
- one or more of their named visitors, and/or
- their essential care provider (where applicable)
- residents maintaining social distance from anyone who is not one of their named visitors, essential care providers, or care staff and, wherever possible, avoiding close physical contact with those who are supporting their visit to minimise the risk of infection
- residents avoiding crowded places
- residents avoiding using public transport where possible, especially at peak times; travelling in a family car or private taxi is an acceptable alternative
Where visits out are accompanied by a named visitor, the visitor should follow the relevant testing regime as referenced in the guidance on care home visiting and receive negative test results in the same way as if they were visiting in. Testing arrangements are outlined in more detail in the guidance on care home visiting.
Where possible, anyone else who the resident meets as part of an indoor visit should undertake a lateral flow device test and receive a negative result on the day of the visit. This can be confirmed by the named visitor. All tests should be reported to the Unique Organisation Number (UON) of the care home.
Where residents are visiting a location with an existing testing regime, for example a workplace, day care centre or education setting, they should participate in the relevant testing regime for that organisation where possible.
Others involved in the visit should take steps leading up to the visit to minimise the risk to the care home resident and others in the care home, recognising that introducing COVID-19 to a care home puts all those who live and work there at risk. This includes receiving a negative test and following good infection control practice including social distancing, hand hygiene, wearing face coverings and avoiding crowded places.
If the resident is being accompanied by a member of care home staff, a risk assessment should be carried out. This should assess the COVID-19 transmission risk to the care worker arising from any activities during the visit to ensure that the necessary precautions are in place. This may, for example, include if the care worker is likely to undertake direct personal care, as per the ‘How to work safely in care homes’ guidance, and therefore whether the care worker requires PPE (above the requirements for individuals in a public place). If necessary, the staff member should take the required additional PPE, as well as the means to safely store or dispose of it, along with a spare, replacement face covering with them when they leave the care home.
Individual risk assessments
No visit out of a care home during a pandemic is without risk, but there are steps we can take to reduce those risks. Care homes should discuss and agree arrangements with residents, residents’ named visitors, or their essential care provider in advance.
Decisions about an individual resident’s visits out of a care home should be taken with the resident’s assessed needs and circumstances considered. The care home should balance the benefits of visits out of the care home against a consideration of the risks to others in the home, where necessary.
It is important that the resident and their family are involved in discussions throughout this process. If undertaking a visit out is not possible because of the risk to the individual and other residents and staff, care providers should communicate the reasons for this decision clearly to the resident and their family.
Individual risk assessments should take into account:
- the vaccination status of residents, visitors and staff, including the extent of 2nd vaccinations
- any testing of those accompanying the resident or who they intend to meet on their visit out
- levels of infection in the community
- variants of concern in the community
- where the resident is going on a visit and what activities they will take part in while on the visit
- the mode of transport that residents intend to use
Where a care home is situated in a local community with high, or rapidly rising, levels of infection, and/or where there is evidence of variants of concern or variants under investigation, care home managers should seek additional local advice from their local authority DPH.
Regard should also be given to the ethical framework for adult social care, and the wellbeing duty in section 1 of the Care Act 2014, and all decisions should be taken in light of general legal obligations, such as those under the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998, as applicable.
Providers must consider the rights of residents who may lack the relevant mental capacity needed to make a decision about visits out of care homes. These people are protected by the empowering framework of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 and its safeguards. The government has published advice on the MCA and application of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) (Department of health and Social Care, updated 27/04/2021) during the pandemic.
We remain very happy to support any provider who has concerns and wishes to discuss individual cases with us, please contact using the usual email ASCCovid19@somerset.gov.uk.
Visits in and out of supported living settings
The COVID-19: guidance for supported living (Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, updated 16/07/2021) has been updated to include guidance on visits in and out of supported living settings. This guidance is intended for supported living settings, but many of the principles are applicable to extra care housing for older people. It may also be a useful resource for the wider supported housing sector, such as retirement or sheltered housing.
From 19/07/2021, there are no restrictions on the number of people individuals can meet. People living in supported living settings live in their own homes and visits should be supported and enabled wherever it is safe to do so.
However, a supported living setting may also be a staff workplace and include a range of communal areas and shared facilities. It is therefore important to consider the risks arising from visits, to those taking part, as well as the risks for others with whom they live, or may later come into contact.
In all cases, arrangements for visiting into and out of the setting should be supported by a dynamic risk assessment for the overall setting, as well as an individualised assessment of the benefits of visiting and the risks to particular people because of their care and support needs. The risk assessment should consider people’s rights and decisions should balance the resident’s assessed needs against the consideration of risk of infection. The risk assessment will also need to reflect whether the setting is a ‘high risk’ setting (as designated by the local Director of Public Health).
For visits taking place at the setting, the manager may also wish to consider:
- if a setting has a communal garden area which can be accessed without anyone going through a shared building, then using this space for visits should be encouraged
- if, in shared accommodation, visitors should limit close contact with other people who live there and staff
- visitors should be reminded and provided with facilities to wash their hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the home, and to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and clean their hands after disposal of the tissues
For visits taking place away from the setting, the manager should consider:
- testing visitors who are collecting residents and transporting them to or from the setting, and encouraging any others they may be meeting to conduct a test on the day
- offering support so people can find or go to outside spaces to see their relative in a safer environment
- factors to minimise the risk for staff and other individuals in the supported living setting (including the layout of the premises and the nature of the support provided)
- the nature and context of the visit – for example, whether the visit would include overnight stays in the family home or visits to a public place
- the support needs that the person may have during the visit, and whether they will need to be accompanied by a staff member, carer, family member or friend
- transport for the visit should avoid exposing the person to those outside the household they are visiting, for instance by travelling in a family car wherever possible
- increased communal risks that may arise in shared areas when people return from off-site visits (including shared spaces indoors and outdoors, on-site grouped services and social activities)
- the need for those returning from off-site visits to visits to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19, or have been notified by NHS Test and Trace that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. There is no expectation for someone to self-isolate for 14 days after a visit has happened if this is not the case
And in all cases, the manager should work with people being supported and their families to:
- make sure that no one with COVID-19 symptoms should participate in a visit and anyone with suspected symptoms should be tested
- make sure that no one visits when an individual is required to self-isolate as they have been a close contact of a COVID-19 case in the previous 10 days, and whether an individual needs to self-isolate if they have travelled to certain countries
- remind them to follow good infection control practice including avoiding close contact, hand hygiene and face coverings, and to consider whether their needs are likely to impact their ability to do so
- where possible, visitors can be given support on how to prepare for a visit and given tips on how to communicate if face coverings are required
Visitor testing is a tool to help mitigate the risks of visiting. Testing is not a requirement for visiting and managers should not refuse visits to visitors who have not taken a test unless they are symptomatic. Visitors must not visit if they are required to self-isolate (Public Health England, 19/07/2021) (for example, if they have been notified of a positive COVID-19 test, are a contact of someone who has tested positive or following travel). The government recommends that visitors participate in testing to reduce risk of introduction of infection through asymptomatically infected people, in particular for higher risk settings with shared living accommodation spaces which have a higher potential for outbreaks.
Testing onsite at the setting is preferable for assurance purposes. However, recognising that individuals now have access to testing through other routes and visitors may be travelling long distances to visit, managers can allow visitors to provide evidence of a negative test taken on the day of the visit through other means including:
- assisted testing at another lateral flow site such as an asymptomatic testing site (ATS)
- testing themselves at home through test kits provided by the care setting
- self-testing at home using test kits provided by the government such as at a school, workplace, the universal testing offer, or collected from a pharmacy
When considering the most appropriate testing route, managers should consider any additional risks that may arise from testing off-site, as well as the confidence and ability of visitors to carry out tests away from the care home. This may include factors such as:
- visitors inaccurately conducting or reporting lateral flow testing themselves
- the increased risk of visitors needing to take public transport to a testing site, particularly where it is far from the setting, or coming into contact with other people
- or where visitors may not have a mobile phone or email address to receive the result of their test
Where visitors will be self-testing, managers may wish to supervise the first few tests on site and provide support to ensure visitors are confident conducting the tests at home and they are being completed and reported satisfactorily.
Wherever the test is conducted, it should be done on the day of the visit. Once the visitor has registered the test, they will receive a confirmation of their result by text message (SMS) and email to show proof of result. Proof of a negative result may include an email or text from NHS Test and Trace or a date- stamped photo of the test cartridge itself. Managers do not need to retain records of proof. All tests done at home should be registered to the UON of the supported living setting and managers should ensure visitors are aware of their UON and their responsibility to report the result. Being able to link visitors to a supported living setting enables public health teams to better support settings to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent outbreaks.
Any potential visitor who tests positive should immediately leave the premises and self-isolate. They should complete a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which should be provided to them by the care home if testing on site, or ordered by the visitor from the get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) or by calling 119.
Visitors who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 with a PCR test should not be retested within 90 days unless they develop new symptoms or unless specific infection detection and response plans are in place for individuals or in the local area already. This means that some visitors will not need to be tested regularly because they will fall into this 90-day window. These visitors should use the result of their positive PCR result to show that they are currently exempt from testing until the 90-day period is over following their period of self-isolation. Once the 90-day period is over, visitors can then continue to be tested. They should still continue to follow all other relevant IPC measures throughout these 90 days, including limiting close contact, maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene and wearing PPE if appropriate.
It is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the resident should have been vaccinated against COVID-19. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take the opportunity to be vaccinated when they are invited to do so through the national programme.
- Visiting arrangements in care homes (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 16/07/2021)
- Summary of guidance for visitors (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 16/07/2021)
- COVID-19: guidance for supported living (Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, updated 16/07/2021)
- Visits out of care homes (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 15/07/2021)
Partners in Care resources
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. They’ve been produced in collaboration with Rights for Residents, Relatives and Residents, John’s Campaign and Age UK and backed by many others in the sector.
These resources can be used and adapted by care homes. They include a visiting charter setting out shared rights and responsibilities and a visiting pledge, covering commitments all parties can sign up to.
Some care home residents have received a letter advising them they have been added to the shielded patients list (because they are clinically extremely vulnerable). The Department of Health and Social Care has made an addition to the guidance to make clear being on the list does not prevent care home residents from receiving visitors in the same way as others
The Gold Standards Framework Centre CIC (GSF Centre CIC) which provides training for generalist frontline staff in health and social care, to enable the provision of ‘gold standard’ care for all people nearing the end of life, has published The Gold Signposting and guidance on the Coronavirus Epidemic.
- Poster giving contact information for if you need support or have questions about palliative or end of life care for your residents
- Essential COVID-19 symptomatic advice and care resources for healthcare professionals and care providers is available through St Margaret’s Hospice.
- NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group COVID19 End of Life Support Guidance (April 2020)
- Use of oral/buccal medication for symptom control and a list of oral/buccal medication
- Carer administration of rectal suppositories
- Carer administration of scopoderm patch
- Carer administration of sublingual lorazepam
Join the Somerset Care Homes Palliative Care ECHO network
variety of participants can share best practice and learning – all staff from signed up teams are welcome.
Signed up professionals and care homes will have access to:
- Ten facilitated ECHO sessions per year
- Share knowledge and network with other professionals and care homes in Somerset
- Access to a variety of specialists in palliative care
- Certificate of attendance (following completion of feedback)
- Opportunity to achieve a Champion Care Home award from St Margaret’s Hospice Care where minimum standards are met
The sessions are FREE, held remotely and coordinated by the Hub (St Margaret’s Hospice Care). All you need is a device that you can access the internet and emails on, with a camera, microphone and speaker. No special software is needed – a link will be sent in an email that allows you to join the session directly.
The network will work slightly different for care homes and health and social care professionals and we have therefore added further information provided by St Margaret’s Hospice below:
Easy Read Palliative Care Resources:
In response to COVID-19, the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have put temporary arrangements in place to provide DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the adults’ and children’s barred lists free-of-charge to healthcare and social care workers being recruited in connection with the care and treatment of COVID 19 in England and Wales.
These arrangements will provide employers with the option to appoint new recruits into regulated activity with adults and/or children, as long as the individuals are not barred, and appropriate measures are put in place to manage the individual until the full DBS check is received.
Guidance has been developed for organisations who need to do these checks, setting out how who can have them and how to complete the applications so these can be easily identified and the right level of information provided as quickly as possible.
These checks will be free of charge to reduce the burden on services at this time of need.
- Travel abroad and coronavirus (COVID-19) (Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, updated 19/07/2021)
- Red, amber and green list rules for entering England (Department for Transport, updated 19/07/2021)
- Quarantine and testing if you’ve been in an amber list country (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 19/07/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers (Department for Transport, updated 19/07/2021)
- COVID-19: guidance for hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping (Public Health England and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 21/07/2021)
- Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own (Department of Health and Social Care and Cabinet Office, updated 20/07/2021)
- Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace (Department of Health and Social Care, 20/07/2021)
- Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person (Public Health England, 19/07/2021)
- COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection (Public Health England, updated 19/07/2021)
- COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 (Roadmap) (Cabinet Office, updated 19/07/2021)
- COVID-19: arranging or attending a funeral or commemorative event (Public Health England and Department of Health and Social Care, updated 19/07/2021)
- What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19 (Department for Education, updated 19/07/2021)
- Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak (Department for Education, updated 19/07/2021)
- Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, updated 14/07/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local government (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, updated 13/07/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): local death management (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 24/05/2021)
- COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, updated 17/05/2021)
- Somerset Local Outbreak Management Plan (Somerset County Council, 24/03/2020)
- Coronavirus: How to help safely (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, updated 05/03/2021)
- SAGE advice on reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in the home (Cabinet Office, 07/12/2020)
- Local COVID-19 outbreaks: lessons learnt and good practice (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 14/09/2020)
- COVID-19 (coronavirus) absence: A quick guide for parents and carers (Public Health Somerset, September 2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of modern slavery (Home Office, 06/04/2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): working safely (Health and safety Executive)
- Working with migrants and refugees during the COVID-19 crisis (Chartered Institute of Housing)
Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- COVID-19: management of exposed staff and patients in health and social care settings (Public Health England, updated 22/07/2021)
- COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care (Public Health England, updated 19/07/2021)
- COVID-19: how to work safely in care homes (Public Health England, updated 19/07/2021)
- Supporting excellence in infection prevention and control behaviours: Implementation Toolkit (Skills for Care, 09/06/2021)
- COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC) (Public Health England, updated 01/06/2021)
- COVID-19: Guidance for the remobilisation of services within health and care settings: Infection prevention and control recommendations (Public Health England, 01/06/2021)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) illustrated guide for community and social care settings (Public Health England, updated 09/06/2021)
- Personal protective equipment and heat: risk of heat stress (Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, 09/06/2021)
- Why fresh air is so important in controlling the spread of Covid-19 (Public Health Somerset, February 2021)
- Covid-19 deep cleaning guidance in Care Homes
- Your 5 Moments For Hand Hygiene Poster
- Care home mutual aid IPC training support
- COVID-19 Super trainer competency document
- CQC Inspection Information Gathering Tool: Infection Prevention and Control
- Hand Gel Use sheet
- Hand Washing sheet
- Homemade Masks poster
- Putting on personal protective equipment (PPE) for non-aerosol generating procedures
- Taking off personal protective equipment (PPE) for non-aerosol generating procedures
- Effectiveness of Correct Hand Washing
- Trainers Resources on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in Care Homes
- Supporting fit testing: steps and actions to be taken where staff may require the use of FFP3 masks (NHS England and NHS Improvement, 29/10/2020)
- COVID-19: personal protective equipment use for non-aerosol generating procedures including posters and a video showing how to safely don (put on) and doff (take off) the personal protective equipment (PPE) (Public Health England, updated 21/08/2020)
- Facial hair and FFP3 respirators poster (26/02/2020)
- NHS Guidance on How to wash your hands (18/10/2019)
- Portable fans in health and social care facilities: risk of cross infection (NHS Improvement, 11/01/2019)
- Best Practice Hand Wash Poster
- Best Practice: management of blood and body fluid spillage
- Routine decontamination of reusable non-invasive patient care equipment
- Helping to prevent infection: A quick guide for managers and staff in care homes (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence)
- NHS Property Services: Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitiser – Vehicle Fires
- Highways England Safety Alert: Alcohol Based Hand Sanitiser
Local Guidance and Resources:
- Summary of the Position Statement for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Somerset County Council)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the COVID-19 Pandemic – Guide for Staff Working in Local Authority, Education, Community and Social Care Settings (Somerset County Council, updated 11/06/2020)
- Template Example Risk Assessment of PPE Requirement (Somerset County Council)
- Template Example Risk Assessment of PPE Requirement – Household (Somerset County Council)
- Template Example Risk Assessment of PPE Requirement – Community (Somerset County Council)
- Personal Hygiene – Hand cleansing for remote workers (Somerset County Council)
The NHS has set up a supply distribution helpline which can answer PPE calls and emails 24/7:
Phone: 0800 915 9964
- The DHSC has launched a guidance page on the PPE Portal, to help provide information to those invited to register and order emergency PPE through the site.
- Please find the page at this address: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ppe-portal-how-to-order-emergency-personal-protective-equipment (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 18/05/2021)
- The customer service team can be contacted on on 0800 876 6802 if you have any questions about using the PPE portal
- The page details who is eligible to register with the portal, how the order process works and what customers should expect from the portal.
- Please ensure that all eligible providers regularly check their email accounts registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) / Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in order to ensure that the email invitation is received and actioned.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Strategy:
On 28/09/2020 the Department of Health and Social Care published a Personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy: stabilise and build resilience (updated 29/09/2020).
While we appreciate that many providers are now procuring PPE via the PPE Portal, the Local Authority is still available to support providers with any PPE shortfalls, however this will be on a chargeable basis. Please contact ASCCOVID19@somerset.gov.uk should you wish to purchase PPE through the Local Authority.
Resuscitation during the Coronavirus public health crisis presents those undertaking it with additional risks. Advanced life support procedures are considered aerosol generating, and should therefore only be undertaken by those wearing FFP3 masks and the highest level of PPE.
The Resuscitation Council UK are advocating compression only CPR at this time due to the inherent risks, further guidance can be found at: https://www.resus.org.uk/media/statements/resuscitation-council-uk-statements-on-covid-19-coronavirus-cpr-and-resuscitation/covid-community/ (updated 13/05/2020)
- The appropriate use of PPE will protect uniforms from contamination in most circumstances
- Change at work – it is best practice to change in to and out of uniforms, or dedicated work clothing, at the workplace
- Uniforms should be brought home in a disposable plastic bag and laundered separately
Public Health England South West are holding weekly webinars at 3pm each Friday to answer questions about infection prevention and control. If you have yet to have an cases these webinars are provided to help you prepare and we would strongly urge you to participate.
Please use this link to join using Microsoft Teams or join by phone: 020 8142 8939 then phone conference ID: 447 183 299#
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
The Government launched a new NHS Test and Trace service on 28/05/2020. The service is expected to evolve over the coming weeks and further information will be added as it becomes available.
- NHS test and trace: workplace guidance (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 23/07/2021)
- NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 20/07/2021)
- NHS Test and Trace: how we test your samples (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 16/06/2021)
A summary has been produced of Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests available for adult social care in England (UK Government and NHS Test and Trace, updated July 2021) that details the different requirements for each type of service. This is part of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings pack of guidance (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 09/07/2021).
Please see below for more specific information on testing within different service types.
National Information on getting tested for COVID-19
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 08/07/2021)
- How tests and testing kits for coronavirus (COVID-19) work (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, updated 17/06/2021)
Everyone in England who is not currently displaying symptoms of COVID-19 infection, can now access free lateral flow tests to enable them to test twice weekly.
There are several routes available to receive twice weekly testing:
- Book a test at a local Community Test Site – Check this map of test site locations, dates and times for the nearest service to you. You can also find the addresses of the sites using this link.
- Collect a home test kit from a local Community Test Site – You do not need to book to collect a test, but the tests will only be available for collection at specific times. Check this map of test site locations, dates and times for the nearest service to you.
- Get a test kit sent to your home – If you are unable to get to a test centre to collect a test kit you can order a home testing kit to be sent to your home. You can order a test online here.
- Collect a test from a pharmacy – A new pharmacy collect service is now available in Somerset with 99 pharmacies signed up and more to come online soon. You will be able to use this if you are over the age of 18 without symptoms. Participating pharmacies will provide a box of 7 rapid tests to use twice a week at home. Find a pharmacy where you can collect tests.
Local Information on getting tested
- Somerset County Council: Coronavirus – Getting tested
- Somerset County Council: Coronavirus – Get a test if you do not have symptoms
Labelling of tests for staff
We have received feedback that sometimes it can be unclear which setting a test relates to where the information completed only shows the care provider name rather than care setting. Please could you there ensure that you complete as much detail as possible (setting name(s) and postcodes) as well as the name of care provider associated with it. This will enable the location that the staff member is working at to be more quickly identified.
Additional step to the self-report registration
There has been an additional screen added to the user’s journey when you are registering a test result online. The user will now be prompted to input their occupation during registration. Please note, this is an optional screen and therefore if you do not wish to disclose your occupation, you do not need to do so.
Procedure on discovering leaking vials or buffer solution
We have been informed of a small number of test kits that contain leaking vials, or vials without the lid securely fastened. Should this be discovered, the affected kit should be discarded. Once any immediate safety concerns have been dealt with, take photos of the affected kits, including batch numbers and any other information from the kit and also the outside of the delivery box. Report the incident to 119 and request a replacement order if required.
Bulk upload spreadsheet for coronavirus tests
From 01/07/2021 all Adult Social Care settings, along with care homes will be able to use the bulk upload spreadsheet process for registration of test results. Please see guidance and spreadsheet to record the details of up to 100 people who you’ve tested for coronavirus on that day (Department for Health and Social Care, updated 01/07/2021).
Care Homes (updated 08/07/2021)
Domiciliary Care Services (updated 23/04/2021)
Extra Care Housing and Supported Living Services (updated 19/07/2021)
Day Services (updated 02/07/2021)
Personal Assistants (19/07/2021)
The collection of completed tests should be booked using the following link: https://test-kit-collection.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/
The courier booking portal has been updated to improve the service. This update introduces three new changes:
- There will be a new afternoon slot between 2:00pm – 4:00pm
- At the moment, your organisation is designated a single slot. However, now, you can book any collection window that best suits your organisation. The collection windows are:
- Morning (9:00am – 1:00pm)
- Afternoon (2:00pm – 4:00pm)
- Evening (6:00pm – 9:00pm) (this slot for specialist Ministry of Justice locations only, please do not use it if it is displayed)
- Please note that you can only book one slot a day.
- There is now a regional cap for each collection window each day. Once these are full the option will no longer be shown to your organisation. However, you can book a slot 28 days in advance, so please book a slot in advance to avoid being capped.
- This service enables you to arrange a courier to collect your COVID-19 testing kits, which will be taken to the lab for processing.
- This is the only way that care homes can send test kits to the labs
- This service is for the collection of used kits only, and not for the ordering of new testing kits.
- You will be asked to provide your care home ID or equivalent unique identifier to access this service.
- When arranging your courier you will be asked to predict the number of kits you expect to send back. You will not be able to change it after submitting, but please do not worry if you end up testing a different number – it is only there to help plan volumes and does not need to be exact.
- You can now make courier booking 28 days in advance, but it must still be booked by 7pm on the day before testing. Couriers are available seven days a week.
- Please do not start testing until you have completed your courier booking.
- If you require support with your courier booking, please contact the customer care team via COVIDCareHomeTesting@dhsc.gov.uk.
Please contact the Test and Trace contact centre on 119 the following morning if your courier has not arrived, and they will book you an urgent replacement courier. 119 opens at 7am every day.
If you are noticing that pre-booked couriers are regularly not turning up to collect your PCR tests, there may be some confusion as to where the driver should go to collect your kits.
To help avoid this issue for your care home, please help us to understand how to access your care home.
When booking a courier, there is a section to add any notes that might help couriers find your care home – please populate this notes section if possible.
This may include:
- Specific directions to the home
- Which door to collect the kits from (if not labelled)
- If your care home is near to another care home or other facility, you can specify which is which Day Centre Testing: How can adult day care centres get access to testing via the self-referral portal?
- If you have a symptomatic residents (new continuous cough and/or a high temperature and/or a loss of, or change to, the sense of smell or taste) or receive a positive test result from whole home testing please ensure you inform Public Health England via firstname.lastname@example.org as COVID-19 is a notifiable disease.
- Infection prevention and control advice will be given, and PPE provision checked.
- Please remember to notify Somerset County Council Public Health via email@example.com again should the situation escalate, as shown in the flowchart below.
- Care providers can undertake the swabbing of residents themselves. The Government has published COVID-19: guidance for taking swab samples (Public Health England, 02/07/2020) and additional guidance has also been published on how to take the required respiratory swab/swabs (added 27/11/2020). A video has also been published by the Government with information about administering COVID-19 tests to care home residents and. Please ensure that GPs are informed of test results.
Mental Capacity guidance:
- Testing patients does not bring any specific benefit to them as individuals, a positive or negative test does not of itself direct a change treatment. If an individual has symptoms suggested of COVID 19, they should be treated as positive. Therefore there are no decisions that can be made in the best interests of individuals to enforce testing where consent cannot be given and where the individual indicates that they do not wish to be tested. If a home has other positive cases, or if the individual is themselves symptomatic, the least restrictive approach in line with the Mental Capacity Act would be to assume they are positive, and use pragmatic isolation techniques and appropriate PPE. If a home has no cases and the individual is not symptomatic, it would be reasonable to assume they are negative and treat them in as they would all other residents. Local guidance has been produced to support care homes to apply the principles of consent and Mental Capacity to the Covid-19 test and a draft ethico-legal framework to support decision-making relevant to Covid-19 PCR testing in hospital in-patients who may lack capacity to consent.
Please follow the flowchart below (updated 23/04/2021) if you have identified possible or confirmed case(s) of COVID-19:
A pdf version of the flowchart (updated 23/04/2021) with links is available here
These are sometimes called rapid tests as they produce results very quickly, within 30 minutes. You will receive these tests in addition to the tests that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) already send you for weekly staff and monthly resident testing.
The LFT test kits will be used for scheduled visitor testing. The DHSC will send further information as soon with details of when your LFT test kits will arrive, and guidance on how many you will get, how to use them, how you can order more, and what support available.
The DHSC is providing a webinar on LFT test kits. Please sign-up to it to find out more: https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1408929&tp_key=d2a77c17e3
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings (Department of Health and Social Care, 09/07/2021)
- Visitors to adult social care settings: reporting rapid lateral flow tests at home (Department of Health and Social Care, 28/04/2021)
Every day, many care home residents across the country require essential care from healthcare professionals, who visit care homes to provide this care.
To minimise risks, all NHS community based front line staff have access to twice weekly lateral flow device testing through the NHS.
To help keep staff and residents in your care home safe, you may request evidence of this test from any NHS front line staff visiting your care home, and we have therefore asked that staff take a photo of the test result so it can be presented. It is vital that appropriate face to face assessments continue and that you allow appropriate access to the home for professional staff. We do appreciate the nervousness regarding increased visitation, but do need to ensure that appropriate assessment and intervention is provided. If the staff member has proof of test results, it is not necessary to retest them on arrival.
If they are unable to provide evidence, or if they are not employed by the NHS you should follow the guidance below request that they conduct a Lateral Flow Device Test (LFT) using your care home supply before admitting:
- 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 LFT within the last 72hrs, which shows they are following the NHS staff testing regime.
- 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, these professionals will 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 LFT 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.
- Testing for professionals visiting care homes (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 07/07/2021)
We have seen a small number of cases where care home staff have continued to work whilst symptomatic and this has in turn created an outbreak within the care home environment. It is really important that all providers ensure that they have processes in place to ensure that staff do not work whilst they are experiencing any symptoms that may indicate Covid-19. Some staff may have financial concerns, others may be acutely aware of the pressure on colleagues and believe continuing to work is in their best interests. Clearly this needs to be addressed and we would ask all providers to please ensure that they provide staff with reassurance that Infection Control Grant monies are available to ensure staff continue to be paid whilst isolating, and that continuing to work when experiencing symptoms can lead to a significant outbreak and potentially far greater risk to residents and colleagues.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have received a positive test result
Stay at home and begin to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms start. Arrange to have a test for COVID-19 if you have not already had one. The result of the test will determine how long you must stay at home and self-isolate.
Stay at home while you are waiting to be tested or are waiting for test results.
A positive test result means you must complete a 10-day isolation period. If your test is negative, you can stop self-isolating as long as you are well.
If you do not have symptoms, but have tested positive for COVID-19, stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms after your test, restart your 10-day isolation period from the day the symptoms start.
Stay as far away from other members of your household as possible, especially if they are clinically extremely vulnerable. Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat.
If you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19
Stay at home for 10 full days. The 10-day period starts from the day the first person in your house developed symptoms or, if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken.
If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 yourself you do not need a test. Only arrange a test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
If you develop symptoms and your test result is positive, follow the same advice for people with COVID-19 to stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started, regardless of where you are in your 10-day period. This means that your total isolation period will be longer than 10 days. If you have a negative test result during your 10 day isolation period, you must continue to self-isolate until it has been completed.
We are unfortunately seeing an increased number of outbreaks in Somerset, and whilst this is very difficult for all involved it is vital that we look to identify any learning from these cases to support the wider system.
We would like to outline some of the points that have been raised during discussions:
- Care homes should consider what measures they should put in place to mitigate for for a situation where almost the entire staff team has to self-isolate. For example, how would agency staff or those who normally work in different setting access records, know about each resident’s individual needs, Treatment Escalation Plans, the medication round etc? Are your care plans in place and easy to follow, would clinicians easily be able to identify what the normal state of each resident is and whether therefore they have deteriorated? Do you have baseline observations recorded so any drop in oxygen saturations could be identified?
- It’s often the simple things that get overlooked. Cleaning schedules and rosters of cleaning staff, how are these organised, do your cleaning staff all work the same day shifts? Does this mean cleaning is restricted to the 9-5 and could this be extended to ensure that cleaning is provided throughout the day and into the evening? Are you using the right cleaning products, preferably chlorine based? Do your staff share coffee cups? Do you have a tin of biscuits that they all reach into; by sharing we increase contact between staff and this simple act could help spread the virus.
- We need to please remind staff that they should not be working when they are unwell, Infection Control Grant monies are available to ensure those who are unwell and isolated are paid. In addition, we need to remind staff that previous behaviours of coming to work when unwell because of an awareness of the impact of staff shortages and doing what you think is right, is actually a risk to residents and potential a route into the home for the virus.
- Staff ideally should be cohorted such that they work in teams or bubbles. For example one staff group per floor in larger homes, or the allocation of cleaning staff to specific areas.
- Activities outside of the working environment must stop whilst we are in the pandemic, staff meeting and in particular car sharing should not be happening at this time.
- Staff should come to work and change into uniform once in work, social distancing must be observed in any changing rooms and any towels must not be shared.
- Staff must be socially distanced and during any breaks, if possible stagger breaks to reduce any transmission risk and ideally any staff areas should be well ventilated.
Information about the government’s coronavirus antibody testing programme (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 24/02/2021)
At-home antibody testing
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched an at-home antibody testing service which is now available to all paid staff in the adult social care sector in England. This at-home antibody testing service is supporting surveillance studies that are helping the government to understand COVID-19 and how it has spread in the adult social care sector.
Two sets of information have been produced, one for staff working in care homes, and one for staff working across the rest of the adult social care sector both of which contain the link to sign up for an at-home antibody test.
Please remember that antibody tests are different to COVID-19 swab tests. Swab tests tell someone if they currently have COVID-19, whereas antibody tests tell someone if they have previously had COVID-19 and have developed antibodies. They do not tell you if someone currently has the virus and swab retesting in care homes must therefore continue to be prioritised as normal.
Regardless of the result of an antibody test, individuals are not immune from infection, and must continue to comply with government guidelines, including wearing PPE and social distancing.
Providers must tell the Care Quality Commission about the death of a person using their service without delay if either of the following has happened:
- the person died while a regulated activity was being provided;
- their death may have been a result of the regulated activity or how it was being provided.
For further information and the notification form please visit: Death of a person using the service – notification form (updated 29/04/2021)
In addition, where the person who has died had a learning disability a notification must also be completed for the Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme using the following link: https://www.bris.ac.uk/sps/leder/notification-system/
The Government is asking employers to let the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) know if an employee or volunteer in the adult social care sector has died.
Please follow steps to take following the death of a person who worked in adult social care in England (updated by the Department of Health and Social Care on 07/07/2020) where deaths have already occurred, and if there are any further deaths.
Employers are encouraged to tell the family, friends or colleagues of the care worker who has died that they’re submitting this information.
There is no legal duty on employers to submit this information to DHSC, but the Government has said that submitting this information will help to make sure the appropriate steps can be taken following the death of a care worker, including support for employers.
- Innovation and inspiration: examples of how providers are responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) (21/07/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: information for providers (updated 08/07/2020)
- Right support, right care, right culture: How CQC regulates providers supporting autistic people and people with a learning disability (updated 10/06/2021)
- Culturally appropriate care (20/05/2021)
- How CQC identifies and responds to closed cultures (13/05/2021)
- Protect, respect, connect – decisions about living and dying well during COVID-19 (15/04/2021)
- Joint statement from CQC’s Chief Inspectors, and Deputy Chief Inspector and lead for mental health services (24/03/2021)
- Review of Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic – Interim report November 2020 (02/02/2021)
- Emergency support framework: what to expect (updated 01/10/2020)
- COVID-19: interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks (updated 29/05/2020)
- An update on how Care Quality Commission is monitoring the Mental Capacity Act and people who are subject to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus pandemic (21/05/2020)
Please see the useful advice and guidance below from the CQC to care homes who are wanting to increase their bed capacity as part of the COVID-19 response.
If providers are making an application to increase their capacity and help meet DHSC or CCG COVID-19 contingency plans, it’s important they tell the CQC in their covering email and include the word ‘COVID-19’ in your email.
Further information (updated 22/07/2021).
CQC has announced that, as the country moves into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be moving on from it’s transitional monitoring approach. As things change, CQC has said that it will continue to develop its approach and building on what it know works well.
From July 2021 CQC are introducing a monthly review of the information it has on most of the services it regulates. To start with, this will not include primary care dental services or NHS trusts.
CQC has said that this approach will:
- help to prioritise it’s activity
- involve publishing a statement on it’s website for lower risk services. This will let providers and the public know that we have not found any evidence that tells us we need to re-assess the rating or quality of care at that service at that time.
For all the services that CQC regulates, including primary care dental services and NHS trusts, CQC has said that it will continue to:
- focus on safety and how effectively a service is led
- have structured conversations with providers, with a focus on safety and leadership
- use it’s specific existing key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) to monitor a service
- use digital methods and our local relationships to have better direct contact with people who are using services, their families and staff in services
- target inspection activity where we have concerns.
For further information visit: https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/how-we-inspect-regulate/our-monitoring-approach-what-expect(updated 07/07/2021)
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 12: Summary: In this month’s report, we look at data on death notifications involving COVID-19 received from individual care homes, we review our inspections of acute NHS services monitoring inspection prevention and control, and we highlight what we have learnt about how risks can build into a closed culture.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 11: Summary: In this month’s report, we look ahead to the publication of our provider collaboration review of how services across seven local areas in England have worked together for people with a learning disability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 10: Summary: In this month’s report, we look at the impact of the pandemic on access to dental services, and give examples of the innovative ways that local services have collaborated to care for people with cancer, or suspected cancer.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 9: Summary: In this month’s report, we look at the impact of the pandemic on urgent and emergency care services and pharmacy services in NHS trusts.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 8: Summary: In this month’s report, we look at the evidence so far about how urgent and emergency care services have been affected by the pandemic during this winter, and discuss what action CQC is taking to provide constructive support.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 7: Summary: In this month’s report, we share further data on the designated settings scheme for adult social care, and also look into more detail on data on deaths from COVID-19.We want these insight reports to help everyone involved in health and social care to work together to learn from the pandemic.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 6: Summary: In this month’s report, we share regional data on the designated settings that allow people with a COVID-positive test result to be discharged safely from hospital, and also the latest data on registered care home provision. We also look at how providers have collaborated to provide urgent and emergency care during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 5: Summary: In this month’s report, we build on the learning about good practice in infection prevention and control that we discussed in the last issue by focusing on care homes. We also present the key findings from a survey to understand the experience of inpatients who were discharged from hospital from April to May 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic was at its height.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 4: Summary: In this month’s report, we explore some of the learning about good practice in infection prevention and control, and share some of the good examples we have encountered in understanding how providers have worked together to tackle COVID-19.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 3: Summary: In this month’s report, we explore further the need for providers and other organisations to collaborate to tackle COVID-19. We look at what concerns have prompted us to carry out a number of inspections in recent months, and at the challenges that providers have faced in caring for people detained under the Mental Health Act or subject to a deprivation of liberty.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 2: Summary: In this report, we explain the information we have gathered on the pressures that services and local systems have faced and the efforts that have been made to tackle them.
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 1: Summary: This first insight document focuses on adult social care: reviewing data on outbreaks, deaths and availability of PPE, and in particular highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on staff wellbeing and the financial viability of adult social care services.
We recognise many provider organisations in Somerset may suffer financial losses as a result of the challenges and consequences of COVID-19.
During COVID Somerset County Council’s Adult Social Care service committed to providing financial support to providers it contracted with, whether they were operational or not, and also provided additional funding to cover shortfalls created by services that had had to close due to COVID-19.
Many services have now resumed operation under the ‘new normal’, and this funding has now ended. However, we recognise that some people may want or require a change in their support package or additional support, and this should be initiated by contacting Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 to request a care review. We also recognise that some providers may still be experiencing difficulties as a result of the pandemic, and while our position is now that we are unable to offer the same level of support as we did previously (and as a result of this any additional invoices submitted for COVID support are no longer able to be paid), we will work with providers that are experiencing significant financial difficulties who contact ASCCOVID19@somerset.gov.uk to try to support them to find a solution as far as is practicable.
Adult Social Care Fees and Charges 2021-22
The impact of Covid-19 on providers has been profound and at every point they have stepped up and delivered superb care for those we support, amid very trying circumstances. However, the financial implications will be felt throughout 2021/22, reflecting loss of income; higher running costs and staffing shortages.
To assist in market recovery and to continue in a sustainable way, Somerset County Council will award an additional one off 3% rise to all providers, on top of this years substantive fee increases. This should allow plans for recovery as well as change, mitigating the impacts of an incredibly tough 12 months. This covid premium will be paid in advance and as a lump sum at the beginning of the financial year to enable it to support cashflow at a time when it will be most needed. We recognise that all additional central government grant funding must be spent by the end of March 2021 and this leaves an immediate gap in support. Should there be any further announcements of central government funding, we reserve the right to be flexible in its usage, given the guarantee we are providing via a local covid premium.
The regular and cumulative fee increase for 2021/22 reflects the areas where costs are higher and the capacity and demand in each sector. Nursing Care Homes are receiving a slightly higher increase than residential ones due to the nursing shortages and the current rates required for temporary staffing. Domiciliary care providers are having to spend more time on preparing and travelling to clients due to infection control measures and we have an increasing number of people wishing to be looked after in their own home. We feel that the rises across the sector, coupled with the one off recovery support, represent a fair reflection of our continued support and partnership with care providers in the County. They exceed many of the plans of neighbouring authorities and represent a clear signal from Somerset’s Councillors to support Adult Social Care.
This year’s settlement is conditional on a number of key lines of enquiry being jointly worked on during 2021/22. These are:
- A sustainable solution for client contributions
- A fee increase/payment mechanism for all areas of provision to avoid future yearly negotiations
- Modelling different models of care in Domiciliary care and Care Homes
- Exploring fee levels for multiple occupancy provision (no travel costs etc) – Extra Care Housing, Supported Living
We intend to set up working groups in each of these areas, but they will only work if providers can be active within them and help co-produce solutions for the future.
The headline rate increases are shown in the table below. Direct Payments and Shared Lives will also benefit from the equivalent annual rise, but not the lump sum covid premium.
Permanent % increase
Net 2021/22 Increase
You can read the full decision on the Somerset County Council website: http://democracy.somerset.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=1796
We would like to reassure the businesses we work with that we will seek to find flexible solutions to help them continue to deliver services people who use servicers. Government guidance can be found here (updated 12/01/2021) and the Government has also developed a tool for businesses to find coronavirus financial support (updated 21/01/2021). It has also published new information about financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Office for Civil Society, updated 17/06/2021).
We are taking the following practical steps to help businesses in need of our assistance:
- If a business faces loss of income, we will discuss with them the available options where we continue to pay for the services they are contracted to provide. If we make payments for these services, we will work with these businesses, and where appropriate, look for support to redeploy their resources or personnel to support the Somerset community. We recognise that some businesses may not be able to operate as normal due to workforce or supply issues, and we will work to support them.
- We may need to ask businesses to provide additional resources and in some cases businesses may incur additional costs. Again we will seek to agree a solution which takes account of need and cost in a balanced way.
- Payment will be made as promptly as possible.
– We will look at all payment options on a case by case basis to support business sustainability.
– We will work flexibly with providers occupying buildings which we own.
- We will be directing businesses we work with to the Government’s Covid-19 emergency financial support packages. We would ask you to be patient as these are developing on a daily basis. Any businesses in need of advice and support can visit the Local Growth Hub website at Heart of the South West Growth Hub. If any of our business suppliers are encountering difficulties due to COVID 19 we would encourage them to contact us to discuss how we can best assist you. If any of our business suppliers are encountering difficulties due to COVID 19 we would encourage them to contact your Contract Manager to discuss how we can best assist you.
You may also find this SCC site helpful as a business in Somerset
Further Government guidance:
- Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) (HM Revenue & Customs, updated 16/07/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector (The Charity Commission, updated 02/07/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): business support grant funding – guidance for local authorities (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, updated 07/08/2020)
- National Council for Voluntary Organisations: Guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the covid-19 pandemic
As part of the support to our homecare market in-relation to COVID-19, Somerset County Council agreed to support our homecare providers, by funding the level of activity, prior to COVID-19. As from the 1st of August 2020, and with current homecare demand increasing, Somerset County Council will be returning to paying for deliverables, rather than previous levels of activities.
The Care Act (2014) states client contributions should be only paid when receiving a service.
This means that if a service has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19 then no client contributions are payable by the person using the service for the duration of the temporary closure. We appreciate that providers will continue to have costs, and we will work with providers that are experiencing significant financial difficulties who contact ASCCOVID19@somerset.gov.uk to try to support them to find a solution as far as is practicable.
Nationally there have been reports of business being targeted by scams. With many people now working from home, increased stress, less opportunities to talk to colleagues and a different working environment are all things that criminals are using to their advantage to commit fraud. Employees are having to make decisions on their own without verification from their colleagues, making businesses more susceptible to scams and fraud.
Businesses Against Scams is a national initiative to help all businesses be aware of scams. Sign-up here access to access a training session that takes around 10 minutes to complete, and which provides information on these frauds, what to look out for and how to prevent your company from falling victim to them.
Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards have produced an article for you to share with you staff about vaccine related scams.
A large part of government support continues to be based on the information from providers to Capacity Tracker, and it is therefore essential that all providers register to use it and regularly complete it.
All care homes are reminded of the Government requirement to register on the national Capacity Tracker and update it on a daily basis in order to make vacancy and other critical information available to NHS and social care colleagues in real time
Please also note that when responding to questions this should always be on the basis of your position since the last time you competed it. There have been instances of providers responding based on the situation that they were experiencing earlier in the year, which have resulted in concerns being raised about whether current guidance has been followed.
A collaborative staffing solution in Somerset has now been launched with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Somerset County Council working in partnership to supply needs-led staffing throughout the county. The aim is to provide a seamless staffing solution across all health and social care settings, starting with a focus on care settings affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The temporary staffing team at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust will take the lead role in the coordination of this service for care providers.
In the event that a care provider identifies concerns re: safe staffing levels, that cannot be resolved through implementation of its own existing business continuity plans and arrangements, care providers are now able to then contact the Temporary Staffing Team (by email or phone) and submit a staffing request. Bank / Agency staff cover will be sought by the team, with the provider invoiced at existing Somerset Foundation Trust rates.
To access the process, contact details and staffing request form, please visit: Somerset Care Sector Procedures COVID19 Temporary Staffing
In response to your request to be able to manage existing clients as effectively as possible during this Covid-19 period, we have simplified the process of making changes to existing packages of care.
You can now make any necessary changes to your existing clients’ care without needing to contact Adult Social Care for authorisation.
We ask only that you provide us with a weekly update of the changes that you have made for any clients in your care.
As the online form did not work effectively for some care provider colleagues, we have created the following spreadsheet to help you record any changes.
- Provider Care and Support Changes Form (Excel 365)
- Provider Care and Support Changes Form (Excel 97-2003)
Please update this and submit to the Sourcing Care team on a weekly basis, returning every Friday before 12pm midday.
We really appreciate your co-operation with this, as this will help us keep our records up to date. Please invoice as per normal process; monthly is fine. If you have any queries, contact the Sourcing Care team on firstname.lastname@example.org
It is now more important than ever that organisations and agencies within the health and social care system are able to efficiently and securely communicate with each other.
That is why we are asking all care homes in Somerset to obtain and utilise the following approved, free-of-charge, digital tools as soon as possible.
What is NHSmail?
NHSmail offers a recognised secure email system which will allow patient identifiable data to be shared with healthcare services. You will be able to use your NHSmail accounts to communicate securely by email with GPs, pharmacies, the CCG and the Local Authority.
More than half of all care homes in England are now using NHSmail and case studies have shown a range of benefits, such as:
- Being able to receive referrals and discharge summaries without delays
- Significant time saved by not having to post/fax and chase information
- The ability to meet the expectations of partners in relation to secure email
- More efficient, better informed hospital discharges
- Reduced risk of important information being lost or unavailable when required
There is also the opportunity for all NHSmail account holiders to have access to Microsoft Teams which offers a video conferencing facility to enable video consultations during periods of social distancing. A series of video conferences will be held over the coming weeks to support social care providers to make use of their new email account and video conferencing facilities.
If you would like to discuss NHSmail or the application process in more detail, please contact Russell Hilton, Somerset CCG Lead Information Governance Officer on 07771 988691.
If you already have NHSmail, you do not need to complete this form, but please be aware that the deadline for your DSPT submission has been pushed back from 31st March to 30th September 2020.
Fast-track Application Process for Care Homes and Domiciliary Care Agencies
It is now more important than ever that organisations and agencies within the health and social care system are able to efficiently and securely communicate with each other.
That is why we are asking all care homes in Somerset to obtain NHSmail, free-of-charge, by completing a quick and easy form.
You may be aware that care providers had previously been required to complete a Data Security & Protection Toolkit (DSPT) submission prior to obtaining NHSmail. This requirement has been temporarily lifted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the process for obtaining NHSmail is now very quick and simple.
Applications are processed by an automated system and will be rejected/delayed if incorrectly filled out. Therefore, please refer to the How to complete the NHSmail Form guidance notes, when filling out your application.
During the coronavirus outbreak we recognise it is even more important for us all to support each other and offer assistance wherever we can.
The care of the elderly departments across Somerset’s Acute Hospitals are preparing to answer clinical concerns from staff at residential and nursing homes.
This might be for issues such as: a person has fallen over and hit their head; do they need to be seen in the hospital? or a person is becoming more confused than usual and it’s not clear why.
Whilst they might not have all the answers or be able to offer hands-on support, they do have experience in these matters and may be able to provide reassurance or talk through a management plan to support you and GP colleagues.
Homes will be contacted soon via the CCG or Consultant Connect with further information and specifics about routes in to this service.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
NHS Somerset CCG
Infection Prevention and Control Clinics launching on 09/06/2021 covering:
- Training needs
- Audit advice
- Project/development work
- Environment/decontamination advice
- General advice
Please contact email@example.com
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust are offering free online training to all care staff who provide care to others with their oral health needs. It will cover: Correct toothbrushing, use of fluoride, care of dentures, diet and caries and dry mouth conditions. It will give you a chance to ask any questions and address any problems you face on delivering care to others.
This training can be accessed on line through Microsoft Teams by clicking on a link emailed to you. It will take up an hour of staff time and will be certificated on completion.
Please contact Sue Wilson, Oral Health Coordinator via Susan.Wilson@SomersetFT.nhs.uk to find out more.
Health Education England
New e-learning resources have been published by on e-Learning for Healthcare (eL-fH) on Infection Protection and Control support available to the Care Sector. Whilst most are geared towards Care Homes, several have been adapted for use with Home care as well. The resources include:
- Social distancing , Hand hygiene , PPE
- Taking care of residents and yourself
- Taking care of the environment
- Planning ahead
NHS Health Education England has developed a Covid-19 e-learning programme and the resources are freely available to colleagues working in the NHS, independent sector, and social care. This includes resources for Health and Care Staff in Care Home Settings.
To access the e-learning programme follow the link, then select “Resources for Volunteers Supporting Health & Social Care”, then “Volunteer Learning Passport” – there are a range of topics, including Safeguarding Adults / Safeguarding Children.
Skills for Care
Skills for Care has also identified training that remains a priority during this period to ensure there is a skilled and competent workforce, as well as outlining how to access training locally, and are also funding an essential training programme that includes IPC training that is being delivered virtually by 12 endorsed providers free of charge. Skills for Care has also issued guidance for employers, learning providers and in-house trainers on face-to-face training and assessment during COVID-19.
Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have also developed the following resources including webinars and e-Learning:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection control for care providers (SCIE, updated 05/05/2021)
- Safeguarding adults during the COVID-19 crisis(SCIE, updated 29/03/2021)
- Infection control e-learning course (SCIE, updated Mary 2020)
Adult Social Care Workforce App
A new dedicated app for the adult social care workforce in England has been launched to support staff through the coronavirus pandemic. Care workers will get access to guidance, learning resources, discounts and other support in one place. Support will be offered on mental health and wellbeing through toolkits and other resources. The app will be available to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, as well as being accessible online at https://workforce.adultsocialcare.uk
Somerset County Council continues to work closely with and supports the RCPA to be the main facilitator to provider discussions. During the Covid-19 pandemic they have played an important role in supporting providers through engaging with the Care Sector cell and other regional networks. They are also the key reference point for fee discussions and the future role of social care providers in Somerset, including new models of care and innovation.
Please find information below from the Registered Care Provider Association (RCPA)
The Registered Manager Network is organised by the Registered Care Provider Association (RCPA) in Somerset and any enquires about the network should be made to the RCPA.
The last meeting of the network took place virtually on 08/09/2020 and we have been asked to share the following information:
The next meeting will take place virtually on Tuesday 10th November 2020 from 14.00-15.30 and we have been asked to share the following information:
The Somerset Corona Virus Support Helpline – 0300 790 6275 – was launched on 6th April, opening between 8am – 6pm seven days a week including bank holidays. This single helpline across the districts and county will offer support with: Personal Care and support including food and prescriptions, Transport, Housing, Waste, Financial, as well as emotional well being for those who are worried or anxious.
Skills for Care are able to create a local WhatsApp group for those of you who are keen and who feel this could be a good way of staying in touch and networking with others. The purpose of the group will be to provide a mechanism where you can all communicate with each other over issues affecting you as Registered Managers. You can share ideas, resources and support.
There are a number of ways that you can join this group:
- Send this link to your mobile phone: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Hx0gyX0rIDy6ijN5GoIVqd (you will need to have What’sApp installed already or download directly through the link) and join the group.
- Download What’sApp to your computer / laptop / tablet and follow the link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Hx0gyX0rIDy6ijN5GoIVqd
- Forward this email to Christiana Evans firstname.lastname@example.org along with your mobile phone number and Christiana will add you to the WhatsApp
During the COVID-19 outbreak we are, together, facing a loss of life, often under very difficult circumstances. Two important new resources are now available to help people through these distressing times.
- A new Bereavement and Coronavirus Guide has been produced to help with practical information such as how to register a death, through to planning a funeral and information on bereavement and grief. There is also a section on further advice and support. If a person who has bereaved would like a paper copy of the guide, please telephone 0300 790 6275 and ask for the bereavement booklet to be sent to them and give their name and address
- Together with the booklet, Somerset has developed additional bereavement support services that have a quick and easy referral process. If anyone would like to talk to someone about their loss then please contact the Marie Curie Helpline 0800 3047 412 Monday – Saturday 09.00-17.00. They are there to help and would welcome your call. The service also has qualified bereavement support workers available for more in-depth support if needed. Professional referrals can be taken with the person’s permission.
Two posters have also been produced that can be downloaded below:
- Bereavement support – how to refer
- Bereavement support – information for members of the public about the service
Bereavement resources for the social care workforce (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 07/07/2021)
In these extraordinary times, we are all very aware of the importance of supporting both physical and mental health needs.
Find guidance, advice and tips on how to maintain mental wellbeing if you are anxious about the outbreak:
- Shiny Mind App – the de-stress app designed for you: Launched on 07 June 2021 this wellbeing app, developed specifically for staff in the Health and Care sectors, gives 24/7 access to a variety of tools to those who need a daily boost of mental wellness. There are over 100 mental health exercises and a variety of applications designed to build resilience and mental wellbeing. The app personalises these to fit your personal needs and requirements and includes an SOS button for immediate support in under 5 minutes for anyone feeling overwhelmed. (added 18/06/2021)
- Somerset Emotional Wellbeing Colleague Hub (added 28/05/2021)
- Health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 19/05/2021)
- Workforce wellbeing resource finder: Skills for Care has launched a tool to help the social care workforce quickly find trusted resources to support their own or others wellbeing. This simple tool holds different resources suited to social care from Skills for Care’s national trusted partners. Whether you’re looking for self-help, support for others, needing someone to talk with confidentially or support with mental health, the results filtering system gives the user a few choices to reduce time and energy searching for resources.
- Health and Wellbeing at Work Summary Toolkit (Business in the Community, 21/01/2021)
- A new confidential support line for NHS and social care workers in England has been launched by the Samaritans in partnership with the NHS in England to help staff cope during the pandemic. The confidential support line is open 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week, and is run by dedicated and trained Samaritan volunteers. Support can be accessed by calling 0800 069 622.
- Samaritans wellbeing support line for health and social care workers
- Letter from NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group regarding Pastoral Support for Care Home Staff
- Somerset Health and Wellbeing: How to stay healthy, happy and safe at home
- Every Mind Matters
- Mental Health at Work: Support For Social Care Workers
- Public Health Somerset are working with BBC Somerset and Spark to broadcast a weekly slot with Charlie Taylor on Wednesday evenings 7-8pm
- A Listening Chaplaincy Phone line which is being offered by the Faith Communities within the Avon and Somerset police area
- FutureLearn has published a COVID-19: Psychological First Aid course (15/06/2020)
Mindline Somerset is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if anyone wishes to talk to someone about their anxieties or worries.
- Free tablets to improve lives of thousands of people with learning disabilities (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Caroline Dinenage MP, 25/02/2021)
- Easy read answers to questions about the coronavirus vaccine
- Easy read information about the Covid-19 vaccine (Mencap)
- Virtual Resource Hub and Introduction (Somerset NHS Foundation Trust)
- DNACPR Support Pack (Learning Disability England and Turning Point)
- Health Education England Accessible Formats Library
- Covid-19 support pack: Supporting people with a learning disability during the Covid-19 pandemic (Somerset NHS Foundation Trust)
- Somerset Health Passport template
- Covid-19 Hospital Passport template and Guidance.
- Easy read information published by Inclusion North
- Easy to read (not easy read) information published by EasyRead.info
- Easy Read Online: New Government rules about staying at home 24 March 2020
- Easy Read Online: Advice on self-isolating
- Purple All Stars Hand Washing rap video
- Easy Read information developed by Photosymbols to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers is also available here
- Downloadable easy read resources produced by Beyond Words including “Beating the Virus”, Good Days and Bad Days during Lockdown” and “when someone dies from coronavirus”
- A list of resources and links identified by Learning Disability England
- Videos produced by SignHealth for people who use British Sign Language (BSL)
- Public Heath England guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection (includes Easy Read and translated versions)
- Public Heath England guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people (includes Easy Read and translated versions)
- NHS guidelines translated into 32 languages by Doctors of the World
- Easy read information on COVID-19 from Mencap
Easy Read Palliative Care Resources:
- Government information about Face Masks poster (Devon & Cornwall Police)
- Coronavirus Vaccine – follow Liz Hunt as she has her COVID-19 vaccine while in hospital
- Coronavirus Vaccine – follow Bradley Whitaker as he goes for his COVID-19 vaccine
- Coronavirus Vaccine – who gets it first?
- Coronavirus Vaccine – please don’t call
- Vaccines are coming
- Coronavirus – too many deaths
- The NHS is open
- Back in lockdown
- Keeping safe
- If you get ill
- Being on your own
- A support bubble
- Why we wear PPE
- Get tested
- Food banks
- Domestic abuse
For urgent requests for CHC help/support related to COVID-19 and CHC funded packages of care, please email: mailto:email@example.com