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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Personal assistants and direct payments


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Direct payments guidance

National guidance for people receiving Direct Payments.

Personal Assistants (PAs): eligible for free flu vaccination

All PAs are eligible for a free flu vaccination from their GP practice or a local community pharmacy.

Exemption from contact isolation – Direct Payments recipients and their PAs

The government has announced a scheme by which frontline health and care staff can work rather than self-isolate if certain conditions are met.
Guidance can be found here: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings.

A regional framework has been developed by Directors of Public Health to operationalise this guidance and adopted by Devon County Council in consultation with providers of adult social care. You can find this framework on the PEN website. It applies to frontline adult social care staff working to deliver essential regulated and unregulated care and support to people whose wellbeing would be adversely impacted if the service couldn’t be provided. This risk assessment should only be used in exceptional circumstances e.g. where care and support cannot be delivered safely. The form will help to support you in making decisions about whether you should isolate or continue to provide care when told to self-isolate via the NHS App or NHS Test and Trace.
Only Risk Assessments recording ‘Yes’ to all questions regarding risk and mitigation should proceed to an exemption to self-isolation within the terms of the scheme. We have adapted the form so it can be used by individual employers / Direct Payments recipients and their PAs. However, if an individual employer or a PA, needs any help and support in this matter, they should contact their Home Employment / Employer’s Liability Insurance provider for more support. In most cases, these specialist insurance providers for individual employers operate a 24/7 HR/Employment law helpline for their customers and remain up to date with changing COVD-19 related guidance for Direct Payments recipients.

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 2020.
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.

COVID-19 vaccination

For information on COVID-19 vaccination please visit the COVID-19 vaccination webpage.

Testing for personal assistants

For information on testing please visit the testing page.

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.

Free PPE and Lateral Flow tests for Personal Assistants

Personal Assistants in Devon can access free PPE and lateral flow tests from the Department of Health and Social Care until the end of March 2022 via local authorities. Please follow the link to the PPE order form.

Once you have placed your order, a member of the PPE team will call you to arrange a collection from one of our PPE stores in Devon. Please email if you have any queries. You can also order lateral flow tests online or collect a box of seven kits from your local pharmacy. If you are based in Plymouth, please contact to order your free PPE.

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 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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