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.
Report a care setting COVID-19 outbreak
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 firstname.lastname@example.org immediately and kept the team 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 at this time.
Local Alert Level for Care Home Visits:
The care home visit alert level that has previously been published on this page has been suspended for the duration of the current national lockdown.
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 (updated 25/02/2021)
- Guidance for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) (04/02/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing home care (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 02/02/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for care homes (updated 22/01/2021)
- Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 22/01/2021)
- Adult social care: our COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021 (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 14/12/2020)
- Getting help with daily activities outside your home during coronavirus (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 08/01/2021)
- 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)
- using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: full guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants (Department of Heath and Social Care, updated 18/11/2020)
- Guidance for local authorities and clinical commissioning groups in the delivery of direct payments and personal health budgets (18/11/2020)
- 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)
- COVID19: ethical framework for adult social care (19/03/2020)
Public Health England Resources
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Centre
- COVID-19 Resource Pack. This will download a zip file that contains posters, letter templates and other resources produced by Public Health England
- Community asymptomatic testing poster
- General communications materials to accompany the ‘stay home, protest the NHS, save lives’ campaign, including posters
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 COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, 23/02/2021)
- Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, updated 19/02/2021)
- Regulatory approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, updated 28/01/2021)
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 for first dose, and want to say a huge thanks to you all for making this possible. We do apologise for some cancellations that required us to rebook, but this was due to circumstances beyond our control with supply of vaccines. As we approach the end of first dose vaccinations we are continuing to have to react to availability of vaccine and vaccinators and as such are now having to cancel appointments made at Musgrove Park Hospital for the 13th and 14th February. We are though opening up availability for those staff to be vaccinated at the Taunton Racecourse, and all those affected have been emailed and a text sent to the mobile number provided.
In order to pick up the remaining staff who have yet to be vaccinated we are opening up provision through both the Taunton Racecourse and the Bath and West Showground. 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.
From 11th February, initially for a period of 2 weeks, all eligible frontline care workers can also access their first vaccination via the National Booking Service. This provides an additional option for employers and eligible frontline social care workers to access an appointment at a time and place that is convenient for them. The National Booking Service can be accessed via: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirusvaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or by phone: 119.
Please see this letter from Stuart Miller, Director of Adult Social Care Delivery at the Department of Health and Social Care for further information
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.
Some important information:
- 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.
- Please start now, if you haven’t already, compiling staff lists, we need Name, Date of Birth, GP practice, Mobile Number for each staff member. Lists will be shared so that the Hospital Hubs can book staff in for injections.
- We may contact you with very little notice, we do sincerely apologise for this, but vaccine is being sent to us without any pre-warning and as it arrives it simply must be used.
- 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. This new guidance has been developed following the vaccinations carried out in the UK so far and the ever growing evidence base this generates.
The only contra indications for the Astra Zeneca vaccine is hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients shown below:
- L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate
- Magnesium chloride hexahydrate
- Polysorbate 80
- Sodium chloride
- Disodium edetate dihydrate
- Water for injections
Astra Zeneca vaccine exclusions are now individuals who:
- Are less than 18 years of age
- Have had a previous systemic allergic reaction (including immediate onset anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca or to any component of the vaccine or residues from the manufacturing process
- Are pregnant
- Are suffering from acute severe febrile illness (the presence of a minor infection is not a contraindication for vaccination)
- Are participating in a clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines
- Have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the preceding 28 days
- Have completed a course of COVID-19 vaccination
The only contra indications for the Pfizer vaccine is hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients shown below.
- This vaccine contains polyethylene glycol/macrogol (PEG) as part of ALC-0159
- ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl) azanediyl)bis (hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
- ALC-0159 = 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
- Potassium chloride
- Potassium dihydrogen phosphate
- Sodium chloride
- Disodium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate
- Water for injections
Pfizer vaccine exclusions are now individuals who:
- Are less than 16 years of age
- Have had a previous systemic allergic reaction (including immediate onset anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 or to any component of the vaccine or residues from the manufacturing process
- Have a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs or unexplained anaphylaxis
- Are pregnant
- Are participating in a clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines
- Have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the preceding 21 days
- Have completed a course of COVID-19 vaccination
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
General information about COVID-19 vaccines
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine (updated 22/02/2021)
- The COVID-19 vaccination programme (Public Health England, updated 20/02/2021)
- Covid-19 Immunisation – Consent Guidance
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for healthcare workers (Department of Health and Social Care, 27/01/2021)
- COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for social care staff (Department of Health and Social Care, 25/01/2021)
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults (Department of Health and Social Care, 25/01/2021)
- Public Health England: Immunisation (updated 15/01/2021)
- What to expect after your COVID-19 vaccination (Public Health England)
- COVID-19 vaccination: A guide for adults (Public Health England
- Easy Read information about the Covid-19 vaccine (Mencap)
- British Sign Language (BSL) videos on COVID-19 vaccination (Public Health England, 09/02/2021)
- Information about vaccines: For people with a learning disability and autistic people (NHS England and NHS Improvement)
Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Department of Health and Social Care:
- Vitamin D and care homes guidance (24/02/2021)
- Home delivery of medicines and appliances during the COVID-19 outbreak (19/02/2021)
- Supported living services during coronavirus (COVID-19) (22/01/2021)
- COVID-19: supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults (updated, 14/01/2021)
- COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol (updated 06/01/2021)
- COVID-19 testing in general practice (04/11/2020)
- Temporary approval to suspend the need for signatures on prescriptions, dental and ophthalmic forms until 31/03/2021 (01/11/2021)
- NHS England and NHS Improvement:
- Urgent dental care guidance and standard operating procedure (updated 05/02/2021)
- Dementia wellbeing in the COVID-19 pandemic (26/01/2021)
- Mental health, learning disabilities and autism guidance (26/01/2021)
- Standard operating procedure – Community Pharmacy (updated 27/10/2020)
- Third phase of NHS response to COVID-19 (updated 13/10/2020)
- South West Care Home Winter Readiness Pack (updated 14/09/2020)
- 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):
- Safeguarding adults in care homes (26/02/2021)
- NICE COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing symptoms (including at the end of life) in the community (updated 13/10/2020)
- 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: rheumatological autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic bone disorders (updated 02/07/2020)
- 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 09/02/2021)
- Office of the Public Guardian
- Being a deputy or attorney during the coronavirus outbreak (updated 05/02/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Office of the Public Guardian response (updated 21/01/2021)
- Making and registering an LPA during the coronavirus outbreak (updated 21/01/2021)
- How to register an EPA during the coronavirus outbreak (updated 21/01/2021)
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
- Medical devices given exceptional use authorisations during the COVID-19 pandemic (updated 24/02/2021)
- 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)
- 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 health and social care staff who are caring for or treating a person who lacks mental capacity during the pandemic was updated by the Government on 12/01/2021 to include a new subsection on ‘Offering a vaccine to someone who lacks the relevant mental capacity’. You can read this guidance here.
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 (from 18 March 2020) as Somerset County Council policy for the immediate future:
- 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
Further guidance: Covid-19, the MCA, DoLS and Best Interests: Rapid Read (NHS England and NHS Improvement, August 2020)
We have received guidance that support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where these are formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support, where it is necessary for these to take place in person.
Day services are covered by the term ‘support group’, and are therefore can remain operating, and consequently day care providers are encouraged to continue to operate providing that the meet all the national government guidelines including:
- A maximum of 15 people are supported in one building at any one time. This cannot be a private dwelling.
- Social distancing is maintained and that the building remains Covid secure
- Test and Trace information is recorded and confirmed
- Providers liaise with people who use their service and their families to ensure that they do not fall in the over 60, clinically vulnerable or extremely clinical vulnerable categories, and as a consequence may not want to attend their day care service during the lockdown period. If someone does not wish to attend their day care then providers should contact JCawley@somerset.gov.uk.
This advice is valid from 02/12/2020 onwards. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is a changing situation and this advice may change if national guidance changes.
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 released guidance (updated 09/02/2021) commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care to support day services for vulnerable adults to re-open or continue to operate in a safe manner. Somerset County Council asks that all day service providers follow this guidance released by SCIE, 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. We have also produced a summary guide which we hope will be of use to affected services which covers aspects including funding, PPE and transport.
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
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 05/06/2020
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care) to discuss grant funding. Alison Bell (Strategic Manager for Public Health) will also be joining to provide an update of Care Home Testing, and Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager for Adult Social Care) will provide an update on PPE.
- View the webinar
- View Alison Bell’s presentation
- Responses to questions that were followed-up after the webinar had finished:
- Q: Could we use the funding for staff who are shielding. It states that staff who self-isolate can be claimed but does that cover shielding staff wages also?
- A: Shielding staff members can be allocated to the staff cost under the category of isolation and protection of staff and residents from infection/vulnerability – the Director of ASC has agreed this can be signed off against the grant determination.
- Q: Can you confirm when the Infection Control Grant Applies from
- A: Start date is on signing and return of the grant agreement and the condition states that it cannot be used for expenditure already incurred.
- Q: With regards to the grant, is there any further guidance regarding specifics of what you can/can’t spent the grant on? e.g. Is capital expenditure allowed? For example with regards to transport for staff.
- A: Capital spend is not excluded (provided it meets one of the categories). Please check if you are unsure.
- Q: Could we use the funding for staff who are shielding. It states that staff who self-isolate can be claimed but does that cover shielding staff wages also?
- The Department of Health and Social Care have also released an Infection Control Fund Question and Answer document
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 16/06/2020
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care) to discuss the remaining 25% of Infection Control Grant monies. This webinar was primarily for:
- Domiciliary care providers
- LD supported living providers
- Extra Care housing providers
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 01/07/2020
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care) and Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager, Adult Social Care COVID19 Response Team) to give an update on how we have progressed with exploring ways to help providers source PPE and use the bulk buying power of the council to do this at a favourable cost, and explained how providers will be able to purchase PPE going forward.
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 25/09/2020
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care), Alison Bell (Consultant in Public Health) and Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager, Adult Social Care COVID19 Response Team) to give an update on testing, the Adult Social Care Winter Plan that was published on 18/09/2020 and PPE.
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 16/11/2020
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care), Alison Bell (Consultant in Public Health), Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager, Adult Social Care COVID19 Response Team), Jo Howarth (NHS England and NHS Improvement) and Conner Dicks (NHS England and NHS Improvement) to give an update on the Covid-19 Vaccination programme, care home visits, the current public health position in Somerset and IPC Grant monies.
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 18/12/2020
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care), Alison Bell (Consultant in Public Health), Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager, Adult Social Care COVID19 Response Team) to give an update from Public Health and on vaccinations, Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs), Care Home Visits, Business Continuity and out break planning, finance and grants and Christmas messages including #ConnectACareHome
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 28/01/2021
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care), Alison Bell (Consultant in Public Health), Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager, Adult Social Care COVID19 Response Team) to give an update from Public Health, and on outbreak management (planning for an outbreak, learning from recent experiences), Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) and testing, vaccinations, grant funding – Infection Control Grant 2 (ICF2) and testing funding support, proud to Care Somerset case study request and the Millbrook equipment return campaign and self-assessment portal.
- Webinar with Mel Lock on 24/02/2021
In this webinar Mel Lock (Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care) was joined by Councillor David Fothergill (Leader of Somerset County Council), Tim Baverstock (Assistant Director of Adult Social Care), Alison Bell (Consultant in Public Health), Liz Green (Health Protection Practitioner) and Dave Partlow (Strategic Manager, Adult Social Care COVID19 Response Team), The agenda included:
- Thank you from Cllr David Fothergill
- Infection prevention and control – ventilation, cleaning etc.
- Covid-positive discharges
- Care home visiting guidance
- Workforce capacity fund
- Flagging different vaccine brands
- EU settlement
- 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 (02/02/2021) including leaflets for patients, the admission and care of people in care homes (updated 29/01/2021) and stepdown of infection control precautions within hospitals and discharging COVID-19 patients from hospital to home settings (18/12/2020). On 18/02/2021 the national guidance was updated on Discharge into care homes: designated settings 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).
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that this process has been implemented for all patients that are admitted (for more than 24 hours). If they are simply seen on AMU or within the Emergency Department they will not be tested ahead of discharge back to care homes. Following testing, timing of discharge will be with the agreement of the care home in question regarding if the individual can be accepted to an isolated area within the care home pending test result. The same process is applicable for community hospitals as well. The Somerset NHS Foundation Trust process is detailed in this flowchart (updated 21/04/2020)
We are seeking further information from Yeovil District Hospital and will add further detail on the arrangements once it becomes available.
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.
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. The key message remains to Stay at Home and as such visits should only be undertaken where the associated risks identify a critical need.
Visiting should be supported and enabled wherever it is possible to do so safely, in line with this guidance and within a care home environment that takes proportionate steps to manage risks.
In each care home, the registered manager is responsible for setting the visiting policy in that home, and they should do so on the basis of a dynamic risk assessment taking into consideration the needs of individuals within their home and with regard to the advice of the local Director of Public Health (DPH).
With the exception of visits within care settings with an active outbreak (up to 28 days from last positive test), care home visits may be undertaken on the following basis:
- Outdoor visiting and ‘screened’ visits
- Visits in exceptional circumstances, including end of life, should always be enabled
In all cases it is essential that visiting happens within a wider care home environment of robust Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, including ensuring that visitors follow (and are supported to follow) good practice with social distancing, hand hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use.
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) to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors.
The risk assessment should also consider factors relating to the layout, facilities and other issues around the care home – to help determine:
- Where visiting will happen – outdoors or in COVID-secure indoor rooms, the rooms in which visiting will happen, where and how visitors might be received on arrival at the home to avoid mingling with other visitors, staff or residents etc.
- The precautions that will be taken to prevent infection during visits (including PPE use and hand washing)
Some providers have used temporary outdoor structures – sometimes referred to as ‘visiting pods’ – which are enclosed to some degree but are still outside the main building of the home. These can be used. Where this is not possible, a dedicated room such as a conservatory (i.e. wherever possible, a room that can be entered directly from outside) can be used. In both of these cases, providers must ensure that:
- The visiting space is used by only one resident and visiting party at a time, and is subject to regular enhanced cleaning between each visit.
- The visitor enters the space from outside wherever possible
- Where there is a single access point to the space, the resident and visitor enter the space at different times to ensure that safe distancing and seating arrangements can be maintained effectively.
- There is a substantial screen between the resident and visitor, designed to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
- There is good ventilation for spaces used (for example, including keeping doors and windows open where safe to do so and using ventilation systems at high rates but only where these circulate fresh air).
- Consider the use of speakers, or assisted hearing devices (both personal and environmental) where these will aid communication. This will also avoid the need to raise voices and therefore transmission risk.
In all cases:
- Visitor numbers should be limited to a single constant visitor wherever possible, with an absolute maximum of 2 constant visitors per resident. This, for example, means the same family member visiting each time to limit the number of different individuals coming into contact. This is in order to limit the overall number of visitors to the care home and/or to the individual, and the consequent risk of disease transmission from multiple different routes.
- Appropriate PPE must be used throughout the visit, and around the care home building and grounds.
- Social distancing (between visitors and residents, staff, and visitors from other households) must be maintained at all times – during the visit, and around the care home building and grounds.
- High quality IPC practice must be maintained throughout the visit and through the wider care home environment (See section below on infection control precautions in the wider care home environment).
- Visiting spaces must be used by only one resident and visiting party at a time, and between visits there must be appropriate cleaning and an appropriate time interval.
The following considerations and precautions should be taken into account when visitors are visiting residents of the home:
- Visitors must follow any guidance, procedures or protocols put in place by the care provider to ensure compliance with infection prevention control. Therefore, copies of the guidance, procedures and protocols should at least be available to be read by visitors on arrival
- Visitors should be supported to ensure that the appropriate PPE is always worn and used correctly, and they follow good hand hygiene. They should follow the guidance on how to work safely in domiciliary care in England to identify the PPE required for their visiting situation. Care homes are being provided with PPE to meet these requirements
- In exceptional circumstances, a very small number of residents may (by nature of their care needs) have great difficulty in accepting staff or visitors wearing masks or face coverings. The severity, intensity and/or frequency of the behaviours of concern may place them, visitors or the supporting staff at risk of harm. A comprehensive risk assessment for each of these people identifying the specific risks for them and others should be undertaken for the person’s care, and this same risk assessment should be applied for people visiting the person. If visors or clear face coverings are available, they can be considered as part of the risk assessment. However, visors will not usually deliver the same protection from aerosol transmission as a close fitting mask. Under no circumstances should this risk assessment be applied to a whole care setting
- Visitors should be reminded and provided 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
- Visitors should have no contact with other residents and minimal contact with care home staff (less than 15 minutes/2 metres). Where needed, conversations with staff can be arranged over the phone following an in-person visit
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.
Any potential visitor who tests positive should immediately leave the premises and self-isolate. They should be offered a confirmatory PCR test by the care home and their household contacts may also be required to self-isolate in line with current guidance. Screening questions that care homes may wish to ask visitors on arrival are:
- 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 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.
This guidance equally applies in all other settings including Supported Living, whilst we remain in the lockdown any contacts with family members outside the homes must again be based on a detailed assessment of risk and in line with the Government’s guidance on the provision of Support Bubbles: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
This virus has not yet been beaten, a single course of vaccinations does not mean that we can relax and risk further outbreaks, it remains our priority to work with providers to keep our vulnerable population safe and we continue to be very supportive of the measures that each provider has in place to control risk within each residential setting.
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.
- 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:
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.
Most EU citizens living in the UK (as well as those from the EEA and Switzerland) need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to gain Settled Status so they can continue to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021. This includes both employees and care home residents. The pandemic is having an impact on application times to the EU Settlement Scheme, so it’s vital that people apply as soon as possible.
You can apply for settled status at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
You should consider the impact on your organisation or business if staff do not have Settled Status, as they will not be able to work after June 2021. You can also play an important role by sign posting your service users to the scheme, as some people in our community may not be aware of the need to apply or may need help.
Local charity Diversity Voice, in partnership with Somerset County Council, are working with the Home Office to provide help from regulated advisors for those who need it, including vulnerable people and employers. They can provide posters, hand-outs for service users and 1:1 help for applicants in any language. There’s no charge for this service.
Contact email@example.com or 0300 075 0105.
- Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19) (Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, updated 15/02/2021)
- How to quarantine when you arrive in England (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 15/02/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers (Department for Transport, updated 11/02/2021)
- List of countries and territories from where people can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate (Department for Transport, updated 11/02/2021)
- How to self-isolate if you arrived in England before 15 February 2021 (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 09/02/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local government (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, updated 25/02/2021)
- What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (Department for Education, updated 24/02/2021)
- Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak (Department for Education, updated 22/02/2021)
- Coronavirus: How to help safely (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, updated 18/02/2021)
- COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection (Public Health England, updated 15/02/2021)
- Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person (Public Health England, 12/02/2021)
- Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, updated 10/02/2021)
- COVID-19: guidance for arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic (Public Health England and Department of Health and Social Care, updated 22/01/2021)
- Making a childcare bubble with another household (Department of Health and Social Care, 15/01/2021)
- Making a support bubble with another household (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 15/01/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice on accessing green spaces safely (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, updated 13/01/2021)
- Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace (Department of Health and Social Care, 11/01/2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Meeting with others safely (social distancing) (Cabinet Office, 07/01/2021)
- COVID-19: guidance for hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping (Public Health England and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 06/01/2021)
- COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, updated 05/01/2021)
- SAGE advice on reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in the home (Cabinet Office, 07/12/2020)
- Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own (Department of Health and Social Care and Cabinet Office, updated 04/12/2020)
- COVID-19 Winter Plan (Cabinet Office 02/12/2020)
- The Cold Weather Plan for England: Somerset Delivery Framework (30/10/2020)
- Somerset Local Outbreak Management Plan (Somerset County Council, 12/10/2020)
- Local COVID-19 outbreaks: lessons learnt and good practice (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 14/09/2020)
- Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities (updated 01/09/2020)
- COVID-19 (coronavirus) absence: A quick guide for parents and carers (Public Health Somerset, September 2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): local death management (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 14/05/2020)
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 28/01/2020)
- COVID-19: Guidance for the remobilisation of services within health and care settings: Infection prevention and control recommendations and FAQs (Public Health England, 21/01/2021)
- COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC) (Public Health England, updated 21/01/2020)
- COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care (Public Health England, updated 02/11/2020)
- COVID-19: how to work safely in care homes (Public Health England, updated 02/11/2020)
- COVID-19: reducing transmission – what you can do to help including an easy read version (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 14/10/2020)
- Letter from Stuart Miller, Director of Adult Social, Department of Health and Social Care: Actions required to prevent rise in coronavirus cases in the care sector (Department of Health and Social Care, 11/09/2020)
- 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)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) illustrated guide for community and social care settings (Public Health England, updated 31/07/2020)
- 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 09/02/2021)
- 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 strategy for preparing for a second wave of COVID-19 covering supply and logistics for distribution of PPE (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#
Please don’t throw empty hand gel/sanitiser bottles away, particularly small ones. You need to use these to decant gel from large bottles if you receive these as part of your PPE requirement. There is an increasing shortage of small bottles so we must reuse them.
When doing this, ensure that:
- The bottle is cleaned thoroughly before refilling
- You use a funnel to refill the bottle
Don’t forget: Hand gel/sanitiser is only used where you cannot wash your hands with soap and water. This remains your best defence against COVID-19. Wash them for 20 seconds, and wash them frequently.
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.
A summary has been produced of Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests available for adult social care in England (HM Government, 29/12/2020) that details the different requirements for each type of service. Please note that the references to ‘Tier 4’ within it currently apply while we remain in a national lockdown and that there is a separate summary for Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in a suspected or confirmed outbreak in care homes (HM Government and NHS Test and Trace, 16/02/2021).
Please see below for more specific information on testing within different service types.
National Information on getting tested for COVID-19
- How tests and testing kits for coronavirus (COVID-19) work (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, updated 24/02/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 23/02/2021)
Local Information on getting tested
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.
Care Homes (updated 26/02/2021)
Domiciliary Care Services (updated 09/02/2021)
Extra Care Housing and Supported Living Services (updated 26/02/2021)
Personal Assistants (17/02/2021)
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 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 17/12/2020) if you have identified possible or confirmed case(s) of COVID-19:
A pdf version of the flowchart (updated 17/12/2020) 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 LFD test kits will be used for scheduled visitor testing. The DHSC will send further information as soon with details of when your LFD 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 LFD 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) lateral flow testing of visitors in care homes (Department of Health and Social Care, 22/02/2021)
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 request that they conduct a lateral flow test using your care home supply before admitting.
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 17/11/2020)
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) (12/02/2021)
- Review of Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic – Interim report November 2020 (02/02/2021)
- Right support, right care, right culture: How CQC regulates providers supporting autistic people and people with a learning disability (updated 06/11/2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: information for providers (updated 19/10/2020)
- Emergency support framework: what to expect (updated 01/10/2020)
- Joint statement from CQC’s Chief Inspectors, and Deputy Chief Inspector and lead for mental health services (16/09/2020)
- 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 clearly mark it ‘COVID- 19 application’.
Further information (updated 15/12/2020).
The Care Quality Commission announced that it would be moving to a Transitional monitoring approach in September 2020. This focuses on safety, how effectively a service is led and how easily people can access the service. It includes:
- a strengthened approach to monitoring, based on specific existing key lines of enquiry (KLOEs), so CQC can continually monitor risk in a service
- using technology and local relationships to have better direct contact with people who are using services, their families and staff in services
- targeting inspection activity where CQC have concerns
Prior to this CQC had written to all registered health and social care providers about how they are adapting their regulatory approach in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The letters (dated 16 March 2020) expanded on an update they sent previously on 4 March 2020. The changes they describe included:
- stopping routine inspections from 16 March 2020;
- a shift towards other remote methods to give assurance of safety and quality of care;
- some inspection activity in a small number of cases (for example, where there are allegations of abuse);
- giving extra support to registered managers in adult social care.
They clarified further that there are no changes to the requirements to make notifications / or the systems used to make them.
You should continue to notify the CQC of deaths and events stopping them from carrying on their service ‘safely and properly’ (Reg 18) – this will mean letting them know if your service operation is being negatively affected by COVID-19.
It does not mean that you’ll need to notify the CQC of every single COVID-19 related issue. Aside from making notifications in the usual way, you should stay in touch and contact them if there are specific concerns and issues that they need to be aware of.
For further information visit: https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/routine-inspections-suspended-response-coronavirus-outbreak (updated 15/04/2020)
COVID-19 Insight: Issue 8: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
To support the Adult Social Care market with its response to the Covid-19 outbreak, a one-off payment totalling the equivalent of a 10% increase in fees for a 3-month period was made to all SCC contracted personal care provision across homecare and residential/nursing care in May. This included all Learning Disability and Mental Health services in these categories.
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. 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 22/01/2021).
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 22/01/2021)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): business support grant funding – guidance for local authorities (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, updated 07/08/2020)
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.
The Adult Social Care Winter Plan, updated on 14/12/2020, set out the key elements of national support and actions for local authorities, health organisations and providers for this coming winter. A large part of this support will continue 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
The latest data being provided from the Care Home Tracker appears to show that Somerset is an outlier in terms of Tracker completion. We must stress that the new IPC Grant Funding is reliant on questions that are being added to the Tracker and as such it is absolutely vital that all providers complete the Tracker. If you are having difficulties please ensure you advise us so we can support you in understanding how to enter your data.
The Tracker also appears to show that Somerset’s compliance with paying staff while isolating or shielding appears to be poor. Can we please reiterate again that providers should be doing so with full pay using the IPC Grant.
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.
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 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.
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
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have also developed the following resources including webinars and e-Learning:
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 email@example.com 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:
On-street parking patrols restarted in Somerset on 01/06/2020 following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
The Government has published information for a health, care and volunteer workers parking pass and concessions pass for those on duty as an NHS staff member, health or social care worker, or NHS Volunteer Responder, and while there are ongoing discussion nationally about how this will work in the future parking enforcement staff will honour a permit if legible and displayed where easily visible. However, it is important to emphasise that it should only be used where the purpose of parking is to support the response to COVID-19 rather than free day to day parking. All drivers should also only park in permitted areas, such as parking bays, car parks and uncontrolled areas. It is also vitally important that drivers don’t block the path of emergency vehicles and others involved in delivering services to those in need.
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:
- 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.
- Health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce (Department of Health and Social Care, updated 14/01/2021)
- Staying mentally well: winter plan 2020 to 2021 (Department of Health and Social Care, 23/11/2020)
- 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.
- Virtual Resource Hub (Somerset NHS Foundation Trust)
- DNACPR Support Pack (Learning Disability England and Turning Point)
- Easy Read information about the Covid-19 vaccine (Mencap)
- 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
- 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:firstname.lastname@example.org