1 June 2022

Empowering people with learning disabilities to make end of life plans

Please find a new post published on the Social care blog. Beth Britton, one of three consultants on MacIntyre’s Dying to Talk Project, explains how this project is aiming to open up conversations about death and dying for people with learning disabilities.

Higher-risk patients eligible for COVID-19 treatments: independent advisory group report

The independent advisory group identified which patient groups are at highest risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and would benefit from new COVID-19 treatments. This report was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

COVID-19 vaccination: guide for employers

Information for employers about the COVID-19 vaccination programme. There are number of things you can do as an employer to promote vaccination within your workforce: sharing information on the facts around vaccination; showing support for vaccination from senior leadership; being open with your employees about what support your business will provide to facilitate workforce vaccination.

COVID-19: information and advice for health and care professionals

Background information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) for health and care professionals. Employers must ensure that COVID-19 is included in risk assessments for any health and care staff who come into contact with COVID-19 due to their work activity.

COVID-19: personal protective equipment use for aerosol generating procedures

Find guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for aerosol generating procedures (AGPs).

Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider

 

Find a list of private providers if you need to purchase a coronavirus (COVID-19) test.

 

CQC Recruitment guidance, best practice and resources relevant for recruiting staff

Registered providers are expected to apply the same processes for staff recruited from abroad (including refugees) as they would for staff recruited in England.  

Regulation 19 – Fit and proper persons employed 
To meet Regulation 19, providers must operate robust recruitment procedures, including undertaking any relevant checks.   

CQC recruitment checks - Frequently Asked Questions
Our FAQs help providers understand what is required to meet Regulation 19.  

Guidance on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks – Section 23
Providers must do all they can to ensure that people they appoint from overseas are suitable to work with adults who use care services and/or children.  

The DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas. However, it is still recommended that you undertake DBS checks for workers from overseas in case a person is barred, has a criminal record in the UK, or comes from a country where the DBS does have information sharing agreements. If you wish to check their overseas criminal record, contact the relevant foreign embassy.   

Guide to safe staffing  
Skills for Care’s Guide to safe staffing uses an analysis of CQC inspection reports to help you understand what ‘good’ looks like so you can learn from best practice.

 

27 May 2022

Moving forward with retention - the journey to keeping your staff – virtual workshop, organised by Skills for Care

Wednesday 29 June 2022, 10:00 - 12:45, Book now

Connect with us for an online exploration into staff retention, including practical guidance, ideas, and inspirational conversations. The event will cover:

  • top tips from our key presenter Ben Miller, who has a waiting list for staff to work in his setting.
  • creating a culture for a holistic induction and supervision- registered managers perspectives.
  • improving your workplace profile and staffing through placements and apprenticeship.
  • latest information on learning and development and taking the opportunities for your workforce.

People with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19

Find guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19, or a positive test result for COVID-19. Most people can no longer access free testing for COVID-19. This guidance is in 2 parts:

  1. Actions you can take to protect other people if you are unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and you have not taken a test for COVID-19.
  2. Advice for people who have taken a COVID-19 test and have received a positive test result.

There is also additional guidance for those working in social care settings.

Reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace

This guidance covers principles for workplace management to reduce the spread of respiratory infections. It replaces Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). The information is for employers, workforce managers (of both paid staff and volunteers) and people who are managing a workplace or organisation. 

JCVI interim statement on COVID-19 autumn 2022 vaccination programme

Find interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the coronavirus (COVID-19) autumn booster programme for more vulnerable adults, alongside frontline social care and health workers.

Reminder – Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care services

Find guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for all adult social care services, which includes additional resources for providers.  

Flowcharts show the process for staff and resident testing in the event of an outbreak. Expectations around testing remain the same as when the guidance came into effect on 1 April 2022. 

The association between the discharge of patients from hospitals and COVID in care homes

A consensus statement from the Social Care Working Group to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Overall, the identified studies showed that at least some care home outbreaks were caused or partly caused or intensified by discharges from hospital.

NHS COVID-19 app: user guide on iPhone and Android smartphones.

The app includes a number of features to protect you, including alerts letting you know if you may have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19), the latest advice based on your circumstances, a symptoms checker and general information on COVID-19.

Healthcare workers and the app

Healthcare workers are advised to pause contact tracing while they are working in healthcare buildings, including hospitals and GP surgeries. Read more about how and when to pause contact tracing.

Care England Survey on the impact of rising agency costs, please complete by 1st June midday 2022

Care England are looking for views from social care providers on how rising agency costs for nurses and carers are specifically impacting their services.  

Please spend a few minutes responding to the survey. Information received through the survey is handled confidentially by Care England and remains anonymous. 

How coronavirus (COVID-19) compares with flu as a cause of death

Find a new publication by ONS exploring coronavirus (COVID-19) as an underlying cause of death, compared with deaths due to flu and pneumonia throughout the pandemic.

20 May 2022

Ventilation to reduce the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19

Find guidance on the ventilation of indoor spaces to reduce the spread of respiratory infections, including coronavirus (COVID-19).

Ventilation does not prevent the spread of respiratory infections through close contact and is only one of the actions you can take to live safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

There is further guidance for people who have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on how to assess and improve ventilation in line with health and safety requirements under Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

There is further information for employers on actions can take to reduce the spread of respiratory infections in the workplace.

Detailed COVID-19 specific guidance for workplaces and public buildings is provided by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) for those who wish to put additional measures in place.

Almost 80% of eligible over-75s receive spring booster

Latest UKHSA data shows 79.2% of those aged 75+ who became eligible at the end of March for coronavirus (COVID-19) booster have taken up the vaccine. More than 3.1 million Spring boosters have been administered to the overall eligible cohort.

Data from the government-funded COVBOOST trial, led by University Hospital Southampton, shows a fourth dose of a vaccine provides strong protection and boosts antibody levels above that of a third dose.

JCVI provides interim advice on an autumn COVID-19 booster programme (19 May 2022)

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has provided interim advice to government regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) booster doses this autumn. The JCVI’s current view is that in autumn 2022, a COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and staff
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those 65 years of age and over
  • adults aged 16 to 64 years who are in a clinical risk group

The committee will announce its final plans for the autumn programme, including further detail on the definitions of clinical risk groups, in due course.

Organisation testing registration: record of users (18 May 2022)

Find guidance and spreadsheet for all Adult Social Care settings to record the details of people you’ve tested for coronavirus on that day. All ASC settings should now be using the spreadsheet titled ‘Record-keeping multiple registration spreadsheet (to be used by all adult social care settings)’. This allows settings to register both PCR and rapid lateral flow tests. You can register up to 100 tests on the spreadsheet.

Open consultation: Mental health and wellbeing plan

The Government has published a discussion paper and a ‘call for evidence’ to support the development of a new 10 year Mental Health Plan. It is seeking views from the public and organisations on what we can all do to improve mental health and wellbeing. The consultation covers a breadth of issues which impact mental health, from prevention through to acute mental health care. Closing date is 7 July 2022.

13 May 2022

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care services (09 May 2022)

Outlines the COVID-19 testing available for staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care services.

Care home outbreak testing flowchart for staff and residents

This flowchart has been updated.

COVID-19: guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk

Find update guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness if they become infected with COVID-19.

Mental Health Awareness Week (9 – 15 May 2022)

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and one in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others. Help and advice on how to cope with loneliness and improve your mental health.

Increased funding for nursing in care homes

Increased funding for nursing in care homes will support tens of thousands of residents with nursing needs, including those with learning and physical disabilities, with an 11.5% increase in 2022 to 2023 and an estimated £87 million backdated for 2021 to 2022.

The standard weekly rate per person provided for NHS-funded nursing care has increased by 11.5% from £187.60 to £209.19 for 2022 to 2023 and will be backdated to 1 April 2022.

6 May 2022

Health and Care Bill granted Royal Assent in milestone for healthcare recovery and reform

The Health and Care Bill has received Royal Assent by Her Majesty The Queen, enacting the most significant health legislation in a decade into law.

The Act introduces measures to tackle COVID-19 backlogs and rebuild health and care services, backed by £36 billion over the next three years through the Health and Care Levy. It will also contain measures to tackle health disparities and create safer, more joined-up services that will put the health and care system on a more sustainable footing.

Infection prevention and control in adult social care: COVID-19 supplement

Updated 'COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care’ to reflect the latest guidance on symptoms and aerosol-generating procedures. Added further information on testing and PPE for live-in carers.

Summary of changes to COVID-19 guidance for adult social care providers (3 May 2022)

These useful tables are designed to highlight where guidance about COVID-19 for adult social care providers has been changed. It covers the following:

Adult social care staff:

  • asymptomatic testing
  • personal protective equipment
  • if a staff member is symptomatic, tests positive or is a contact of someone with COVID-19

People receiving care (excluding care home residents):

  • regular asymptomatic testing for COVID-19

Environment considerations:

  • management of waste contaminated with respiratory secretions or mucus from a person with COVID-19

Considerations specific to care homes:

  • discharge from hospital into a care home
  • admission to care home from the community or another care setting
  • if a care home resident is symptomatic, tests positive or is a contact of someone with COVID-19
  • regular asymptomatic testing for COVID-19, Visiting arrangements in care homes

29 April 2022

COVID-19 testing in adult social care (19 April 22)

This guidance is for adult social care providers and staff to set out the current testing regime across adult social care. Based on the latest clinical advice, the aim of this testing regime is to enable positive cases to be identified quickly, so action can be taken to stop the spread. This guidance replaces all previous guidance for testing in adult social care and applies to:

  • care homes
  • homecare organisations
  • extra care and supported living services
  • adult day care centres
  • personal assistants
  • shared lives carers
  • social workers

Liberty Protection Safeguards - Consultation events for people with lived experience

As you know, we are currently holding a consultation on the Liberty Protection Safeguards. As part of this consultation process, it is vital that we hear what people with lived experience think about the new system that we have designed.

However, we understand that not everyone will want to tell us what they think by responding to the Easy Read consultation survey. We are therefore going to be holding a number of online events where people with lived experience of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and the Mental Capacity Act will have the opportunity to tell us what they think about the Liberty Protection Safeguards and what it might mean for them.

We expect that each event will be held online and will be roughly two and half hours long, including half an hour for breaks. The events will be run by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and led by Hilary Paxton, who has previously led events for people with lived experience about the Liberty Protection Safeguards.

If you or someone you know would like to attend one of these events, please fill in and submit this online form. Please make sure that a form is submitted for each person who is interested in attending.

More information about the dates and times of the events will be shared soon.

Bournemouth University develops Mental Capacity Toolkit (19 April 2022)

Bournemouth University has developed a Mental Capacity Toolkit to support health and social care professionals working with individuals whose decision-making process is impaired, for example, people living with dementia.

As part of a wider research project funded by the Burdett Trust for Nurses, Bournemouth University developed the toolkit to enable ethical, legal, and informed professional practice and ensure professionals are confident in their understanding of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

PPE portal: how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)

Eligible health and social care providers can order PPE through the new portal to meet the increased need that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any queries or issues with accessing the new platform, please contact customer services team on 0800 876 680, Monday - Friday between 8am - 5pm.

14 April 2022

Hospital discharge service guidance

Guidance on how health and care systems should support the safe and timely discharge of people who no longer need to stay in hospital. Link added to ‘Hospital discharge and community support guidance.

Mental health and wellbeing plan: discussion paper and call for evidence

A call for evidence has opened to inform a new 10-year plan to level up mental health across the country and put mental and physical health on an equal footing. The public, those with lived experience of mental ill-health, and health and care professionals will have 12 weeks until 5 July to share views on how support and services should adapt for the future. This new plan will build on current progress, assessing how local services can work together to prevent mental ill health.

Ways to respond - Respond online

People with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19

Guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19, or a positive test result for COVID-19. There are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others. These actions will also help to reduce the spread of other respiratory infections. Vaccinations are very effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19, however even if you are vaccinated there is a chance you might catch COVID-19 or another respiratory infection and pass it on to other people.

Capacity Tracker care market survey: more time to make your views count

The government is committed to a comprehensive reform of adult social care. To successfully deliver these reforms, we must build strong foundations and create a more stable and sustainable social care market. Your help is needed to truly understand local provider markets and those currently receiving care. The survey closing date has been extended to 1 May 2022 – don’t miss your chance to shape the future of care!

Webinar re-watch: Living with COVID-19 changes

Last week, the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE, chaired two webinars to support care home managers and adult social care service managers in implementing the recently announced changes to testing, self-isolation and other infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in their care services.

If you missed these webinars, please watch them here: Changes in adult social care services and Changes in care homes.

8 April 2022

Health and social care levy to raise funds for social care and NHS services

A press release has announced that the Health and Social Care Levy has now come into effect to raise funds for adult social care. The funding is to help tackle COVID-19 backlogs and to reform, grow and strengthen adult social care services.  Over the next three years, £39 billion is expected to be invested in the health and social care system.

£500 million to develop the adult social care workforce

£500 million from the Health and Social Care Levy will go to developing the adult social care workforce, according to a press release. The funds are to improve recruitment, retention, progression, and staff wellbeing. In total the levy is designed to generate £36 billion over the next 3 years, which will be invested in the health and social care system.

Half a billion of the £5.4 billion dedicated to adult social care from the levy, which came into force on 6 April, forms a package of support for the care workforce as part of the reform white paper, People at the Heart of Care.

Capacity Tracker care market survey: your views matter – survey closes 18 April

Give your response to a survey on the care market by 18 April. Sharing information about the amount people pay for care services will help local authorities move towards fair care costs for residents, users and businesses. 

COVID-19: managing healthcare staff with symptoms of a respiratory infection

This guidance is for staff and managers in healthcare settings and includes guidance for patient-facing healthcare staff if they:

  • develop symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19
  • receive a positive COVID-19 test result
  • are a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19

COVID-19: guidance on protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

Get information on protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): testing in adult care homes

Find guidance on regular asymptomatic testing for staff, residents and visiting professionals in adult care homes. This is to identify any positive cases in adult care homes as early as possible to enable people to self-isolate to reduce the spread of infection and minimise outbreaks.

Throat and nose test (Innova 25) for care home staff: COVID-19 rapid test kit instructions

Step-by-step guide for COVID-19 self-testing for adult health and social care staff. Rapid tests show the result on a device that comes with the test. This guide provides information on tracking: staff training, kit distribution and staff results. It also provides information on prepare the test, take a swab sample, process the sample and read and report the result.

 

Adult Social Care Infection Control and Testing Fund

Read guidance preserved for reference, reporting and assurance purposes that applied to the third round of the Infection Control and Testing Fund. 

As we move out of the emergency phase of the pandemic, infection prevention and control measures are a normal part of care providers’ responsibilities. Consequently, government will no longer be providing specific infection control and testing funding to the sector.

 

People with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19

Find guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19, or a positive test result for COVID-19. People who are at higher risk from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections include: older people, those who are pregnant, those who are unvaccinated, people of any age whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness, people of any age with certain long-term conditions.

PPE portal: how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)

Eligible health and social care providers can order PPE through the new portal to meet the increased need that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bereavement resources for the social care workforce

Find updated bereavement resources for those working in the social care sector. You may also grieve the loss of residents or care users, particularly those with whom you had a longstanding and meaningful relationship. We hope that these resources may help everyone during this very difficult time.

1 April 2022

Government sets out next steps for living with COVID-19 

New guidance outlines free COVID-19 tests will continue to be available to help protect specific groups once free testing for the general public ends on 1 April.

It includes plans in place to enable rapid testing response should a new health threat emerge, such as a new variant of concern emerge. And it outlines that vaccines and treatments mean we can transition to managing COVID-19 like other respiratory illnesses, with updated guidance published on 1 April.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care services

The guidance outlines the COVID-19 testing available for staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care services. As freedoms are increased and restrictions removed, testing remains important in the adult social care sector to ensure that robust protections continue for those most vulnerable to COVID-19, alongside other measures such as vaccinations and personal protective equipment.

COVID-19 testing in adult social care

This guidance is for adult social care providers and staff to set out the current testing regime across adult social care. Based on the latest clinical advice, the aim of this testing regime is to enable positive cases to be identified quickly, so action can be taken to stop the spread. 

Visitors to adult social care settings: reporting rapid lateral flow tests at home

This information is provided for visitors to adult social care (ASC) settings, on how to report rapid lateral flow tests, if self-testing at home. The manager of the setting you intend to visit should share their unique organisation number (UON) with you. The UON is used to link your test result to us when you report your result to NHS Test and Trace.

The information is on:

Hospital discharge and community support guidance

The guidance sets out how health and care systems should support the safe and timely discharge of people who no longer need to stay in hospital and how health and care systems can ensure that people:

  • are discharged safely from hospital to the most appropriate place
  • continue to receive the care and support they need after they leave hospital

Infection prevention and control in adult social care: COVID-19 supplement

The guidance is to be used to support the response to COVID-19. It applies to adult social care settings and services in England from 4 April 2022. It should be read with the infection prevention and control (IPC) resource for adult social care, which should be used as a basis for any IPC response.

New PPE portal: how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), in partnership with NHS Supply Chain, have implemented a new PPE portal platform to ensure continued access to free PPE and related items for eligible users for health and social care providers.

DHSC: excess personal protective equipment (PPE) for sale

Excess personal protective equipment for sale by DHSC, the Department of Health and Social Care including visors, gowns, aprons and goggles.

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