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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Personal assistants and direct payments

Last Updated 11:07am, 19 February 2021


Introduction

If you have any specific issues or questions that you would like to raise please do so as follows:

Direct payments guidance

National guidance for people receiving Direct Payments.

Providing care and support at home to people who have had COVID-19

This quick guide will help home care workers and personal assistants to provide care and support to people who have left hospital after having COVID-19.

Advice and support for self-employed PAs

New and updated government guidance on self-employed income support scheme, published on 17 August.
Relevant to self-employed people, or members of a partnership, providing care and support services to DP recipients, self-funders, and to support for the PA market.

Decide if your business has been adversely affected for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Find out if your business has been adversely affected due to coronavirus (COVID-19), examples and what records you need to keep if you make a claim.

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now open.

How different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you’re self-employed or member of a partnership find out how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now open.

Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) use this scheme if you’re eligible to claim the grant.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now open.

Direct payments and personal assistants COVID-19 vaccinations FAQs

Q1. Are PAs eligible for a vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccinations have started being delivered to front line social care staff across Devon as part of the national vaccination programme and in line with priority 2 of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance.

This JCVI priority list is as follows:

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. all those 65 years of age and over
  6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. all those 60 years of age and over
  8. all those 55 years of age and over
  9. all those 50 years of age and over

It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.

Q2. How do they get access to the vaccine?

For us to ensure all Personal Assistants in Devon receive their vaccination as part of priority group 2, we need to identify who is supporting each service user.

Direct Payments recipients will need to supply Devon County Council with information about their PA so they can access the vaccine.

Direct Payments recipients should speak with their PA before completing this form as they may not wish to receive the vaccination. If they have any queries, your PA can email us using the vaccination mailbox: MassVac-CareProvision@devon.gov.uk

Q3. What arrangements should I make to facilitate this?

Please talk to your PA about when they are likely to receive their first vaccination. You may need to make alternative arrangements during this time if you need help with anything.

Ideally, you will have already made some arrangements for unforeseen absence of your PA in your contingency plan.

Once we receive their information, we will contact your Personal Assistant and allocate a vaccination slot to them.

Q4. What if my PA does not want to be vaccinated?

Many Individual Employers have already asked ‘What if my PA does not want to be vaccinated?’ What the implications if a PA refuses to be vaccinated? Can employers insist upon it and what are the consequences if they do?

If you have any Human Resources or employment law questions regarding vaccinations and your PA, you should contact your Employer’s Liability Insurance (ELI) provider, who, in most cases, will offer a HR/employment law helpline to advise and support you with this issue.

It is strongly advised that you contact your ELI provider before having any conversations with your PA which may have contractual or employment law implications.

Mark Bates Ltd have provided information and advice about vaccines for PAs.

If you have insurance with FISH, they use a company called Peninsula as their provider of Employment Law and Health & Safety advice. You can read the blog here.

Q5. Where else can I go for help and support about vaccination?

There are several organisations who offer support with a range of COVID-19 related issues such as vaccinations.

Both the Skills for Care and Think Local Act Personal websites have a range of resources and information for Individual Employers about COVID-19 and more general advice.

Roll-out of testing for personal assistants

NHS Test and Trace have announced that it is making weekly COVID-19 testing available to personal assistants working in adult social care in England.

Personal Assistant testing guidance

To raise awareness Department of Health and Social Care are holding a webinar series and it is recommended that personal assistants attend.

Webinars will take place on:

  • Friday 19 February at 1pm
  • Thursday 25 February at 4pm
  • Wednesday 3 March at 4pm

You will also be able to access a pre recorded session following the same link.

Lateral flow testing for PAs

In addition to the recently announced weekly PCR testing for PAs, access to the new Devon County Council Community Testing Service is also possible. This free service is now available for critical workers and those in high-risk occupations who still have to attend work, and people who are in contact with vulnerable individuals, such as paid and unpaid carers, and volunteers. The Community Testing Service will provide free lateral flow tests that deliver rapid results, typically within 30 minutes.

This service will help to find individuals who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms and who may be spreading the virus without realising it.

Where can I get tested?

Please visit the DCC main testing webpage for further details on community LFD testing including how to book a test.

If you have any questions please contact Gabrielle Lester-Smith on: adultsc.covid19workforcetesting-mailbox@devon.gov.uk.

Testing for COVID-19 for essential workers

Essential workers, which include personal assistants, are prioritised for testing via the National Portal. Individuals can self-refer to request a test via the portal.
The national teams are working hard to increase testing capacity, develop new technologies and reach more people. They will be reaching personal assistants in the coming weeks and aim to roll out testing to all personal assistants. If you are a personal assistant, we will provide a further update soon on how you can sign up to order test kits
There are several options for individuals to access testing. The options are:

  • Drive through test centres
  • Mobile testing sites
  • Home testing kits

Essential workers are eligible for testing whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.

To check the main symptoms of Coronavirus please visit the NHS information page – main symptoms of coronavirus.
This test will inform you if you have coronavirus at the time the swab sample was taken.

Any queries should be sent to workforce.testing@devon.gov.uk
For further advice and information on COVID-19, please visit the COVID advice webpage.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and PAs

PAs should use PPE when providing direct care. Direct care is defined as caring activities that take place within 2 metres and examples include:

  • washing
  • toileting
  • dressing
  • oral care and feeding
  • assistance with medication
  • walking and getting up/going to bed

PPE provides some measure of protection against infection, injury, or risks to health and safety. PPE cannot completely eliminate risk. In health and social care, PPE will most commonly be things like gloves, aprons, and facemasks.

Details of what type of PPE should be used can be found in our guide for staff working within local authority, education, community and social care settings. Personal Assistants should refer to Table A for scenarios a. to k. Please note that this is a live document so may change.

Those people who are most at risk of either being infected or transmitting infection will be more likely to be in need of PPE.
The use of PPE should only be considered as a matter of last resort when other protective measures are insufficient.
PPE does not replace good hygiene and most people will be able to reduce risk effectively by following the guidance on social distancing, washing hands in the right way, and wiping down hard surfaces.

Cleaning your hands frequently throughout the day by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser will help protect you and the people you live with or need to visit.

This step is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of infection for you and other people. This includes when you arrive at the home of the person you care for, if you do not live with them, or have been out.
If you are caring for someone who falls into the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category for risk of severe illness from COVID-19, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk. Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene and:

  • only provide care that is essential
  • wash your hands when you arrive at the home of the person you care for and often thereafter, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
  • provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed

Information about different sources of support that could be used and access to further advice on creating a contingency plan is available from Devon Carers.

General guidance on the use of PPE is available on this part of the PEN website.

New arrangements for access to PPE

We are making some changes from 24 July 2020 relating to the distribution of PPE supplies in Devon.

As a Personal Assistant you will continue to be able to access the PPE you require from DCC if you are unable to source it yourself during normal office hours, the out-of-hours PPE offer will end on 24 July 2020.

Personal Assistants can continue to request PPE using this PPE request form.

Please note: You need to allow at least five days’ notice when submitting a request for PPE.

All local store arrangements for PPE collection will also end on 31 July 2020. Instead, deliveries of PPE supplies will be made direct to your home address.

Please note that this is now a generic form for anyone who might need PPE so it covers services as well as Personal Assistants. Simply complete as much detail as you feel able and do not worry if there are parts you cannot complete; the team that receives the requests will still be able to respond to your request.

If you require PPE urgently for any reason, please indicate that you require it as a matter of urgency giving full details and someone will be in contact as soon as possible to discuss your requirements.

PAs and returning from shielding

Advice on Personal Assistants and returning from shielding has been produced by Mark Bates Ltd and published on the national Think Local Act Personal partnership website.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) guidance

The national guidance for Personal Assistance and Direct Payments recipients explain how to us the CJRS scheme.

If you have coronavirus / coronavirus symptoms

We do require you to inform us by emailing adultsc.adultcarehealthcovid19-mailbox@devon.gov.uk as well as phoning Public Health England via 111.

If the person you provide care for has a direct payment they should speak either to their named care manager or to Care Direct.

If the person has had no contact with the Council and needs advice, they should contact Care Direct 0345 155 1007.

The person may also wish to seek an alternative supplier by reviewing the CQC list of registered providers in their area or seek a provider through Pinpoint.

Get a critical worker letter

The identification of key or ‘critical’ workers during lockdown

How to obtain a ‘critical worker’ letter from Devon County Council


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