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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Covid-19 FAQs

Supplies/PPE

QUESTION 1:
Can NHS/DCC supply face masks, hand gel, paper towels or Personal Protection Equipment?
ANSWER:
Some health and care providers have experienced difficulties accessing stocks of Personal Protective Equipment from their usual suppliers due to increased demand and supply chain issues. While adult social care providers are independent businesses, they are vital partners in the delivery of services to vulnerable people. We are working with procurement colleagues and suppliers to identify alternative supplies. We are also working with Public Health England in preparation for the potential distribution of national stockpiles and are awaiting clarity from them on these arrangements which we will then communicate to providers.
If and when information about equipment or supplies becomes available, it will be posted on our PEN website. (16/3)

QUESTION 2:
How do I get additional supplies of food to feed residents if we run out and can’t get more?
ANSWER:
It is not anticipated that there will be food shortages but your Business Continuity Plan should include consideration of action to address such an eventuality.  If you believe that you are at serious risk of being able to source supplies please contact us through the Covid-19 mailbox.

Business Continuity

QUESTION 1:
Can DCC review the Business Continuity Plans for corona virus?
ANSWER:
All providers should have developed their own coronavirus Business Continuity Plans and many are sharing them on the Care Managers Facebook Page, together with other examples of policies that people can use to guide their development.
DCC will be sharing best practice templates and, in certain circumstances, may be able to help a provider if they are having difficulty completing their plans. Please contact us via the mailbox if you have need of such support. (17/3)

QUESTION 2:
Has any Provider undertaken a Risk Assessment or set up specific Policies they might share? How have Providers set up contingency for staff shortages?
ANSWER:
We are revising Business Continuity Planning guidance for our Devon County Council services.  As part of this we will consider the relevance to the independent sector and share with you if appropriate. We would encourage you to share good examples of BCPs with one another on the Care Managers Facebook Page. Some providers have shared theirs with us and we will be making this available on our PEN website. (15/3)

Business Continuity/Sufficiency

QUESTION 1:
How will priority for services be determined?
ANSWER:
Service user prioritisation guidance has been prepared for use by care management and providers and is being issued on our PEN website. In that communication providers will be asked to review their own prioritisation against those criteria and consideration is currently being given to allocating support to providers form our care operations teams. (15/3)

QUESTION 2:
Will trigger levels be operated per town or zone?
ANSWER:
We would want to be as local as possible about how we manage our response commensurate with efficient use of the workforce and levels of priority need. We will keep this under constant review. (15/3)

QUESTION 3:
How do we manage/understand sufficiency as some homes are now on lock down (company policy) and may be refusing admissions?
ANSWER:
Reports of provider response should be communicated to the Incident Management Team via the Covid-19 mailbox. These will be followed up and logged and a discussion held with the provider to see if they need support to maintain service, especially on new admissions.  The situation will be monitored for impact on sufficiency and co-ordinated through the bed bureaux once operational. (15/3)

QUESTION 4:
How are we going to maintain and increase flow from hospitals in such circumstances?
ANSWER:
We will prioritise need, with discharge from hospital a high priority but balanced alongside protecting people at high risk in their own homes.  We will be exploring ways of utilising DCC and NHS community capacity, including potential staff redeployment to the front line and mobilising other capacity wherever possible. This will be kept under constant review. (15/3)

QUESTION 5:
What ‘alternative’ service delivery is available in the event we can’t access beds from the independent sector?
ANSWER: We are looking at various approached to developing further capacity and will update in due course (15/3)

Wellbeing

QUESTION 1:
A resident becomes ill – would their age/health determine if they are admitted to Hospital? What procedures would we then undertake if the resident was not removed and had to be treated by us on the premises?  Could we isolate sufficiently, have our staff the requisite training for such an infected resident if not removed and would the NHS support?
ANSWER:
The presentation of need would determine hospitalisation. The latest guidance refers to policy around isolation (15/3)

QUESTION 2:
If the resident was removed, we would do a deep clean, but what about other staff, other residents?
ANSWER:
In these circumstances Public Health would advise (15/3)

QUESTION 3:
Should we sadly lose a resident, are we able to admit a new resident?   What if a resident wants to leave due to the risk presented by the virus?
ANSWER:
After following public health advice there would be no reason not to accept a new resident. Commissioners and relatives would, of course, want to assure themselves the recommended measures had been taken.
Protocols for a resident wishing to leave would be no different than for any other reason. (15/3)

QUESTION 4:
My clients’ families are extremely worried and thinking of stopping our visits.  Should we stop going to people who don’t need essential care?
ANSWER:
If a family chooses to stop visits to their loved ones that is their decision to make, subject to the person being in agreement if they have the capacity to make that choice. All providers should be prioritising the most vulnerable people (additional guidance on what this means will be issued imminently). If you have any service user who you think does not need a visit please notify us immediately and we will make that decision with you, with our priority being to redirect staffing resource to those in greatest need (15/3)

QUESTION 5:
What should I do if one of my staff members has Covid-19? What about my own care if I live alone? Food and Hydration.
ANSWER:
By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. This does not need to be fit note (Med 3 form) issued by a GP or other doctor.
Your employee will be advised to isolate themselves and not to work in contact with other people by NHS 111 or PHE if they are a carrier of, or have been in contact with, an infectious or contagious disease, such as COVID-19.
We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to self-isolate due to suspected COVID-19, in accordance with the public health advice being issued by the government. (15/3)

QUESTION 6:
What should I do if a family/ friend of a client has Covid-19?
ANSWER:
Please follow national guidance. (15/3)

QUESTION 7:
In what circumstances should a Care Home reduce or stop external visitors?
ANSWER:
Please refer to the latest guidance

QUESTION 8:
What do we do if a member of staff becomes ill at work?  The advice for them is ring 111 but what do we do for the remaining staff and residents in care at that time, and also for staff due to come on shift?
ANSWER:
Please refer to the latest guidance (17/3)

Communication

QUESTION 1:
Who is going to communicate with Personal Assistants?
ANSWER:
Communications have been sent to PAs via the PA Network but our issue is that we do not know them all as they are in a relationship with the service user not the Council. They should subscribe to our PEN website to find updates and guidance. (15/3)

QUESTION 2:
How will we manage communications locally and centrally?
ANSWER:
A communications strategy is being revised and will be advised asap but, in the meantime, providers should refer to the PEN website for most up to date guidance. Any locally specific communications will be cascaded through local channels (15/3)

QUESTION 3:
How are we all going to communicate with Service Users?
ANSWER:
We are compiling some common messaging that we can share with you to share with your users. (15/3)

Staff

QUESTION 1:
If a service user has Coronavirus what would happen if the carer or staff member refuses to deliver care? (15/3)
ANSWER:
For guidance please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19#specific-actions-for-social-and-community-care-staff-visiting-patients-at-home-or-providing-care-to-residents (15/3)

QUESTION 2:
If the service user does have Coronavirus and the carer will not deliver care would the advice from the NHS that these patients would need to be hospitalised?
ANSWER:
In the first instance advice and reassurance should be offered to the care worker around the use of PPE. If they continue to be unwilling to provide care an alternative care worker should be identified if possible. If no care worker will attend then the provider should escalate this to the COVID19 Incident Management Team who will either try to arrange alternative care for the person in their home or take other action depending on the presenting risk. (15/3)

QUESTION 3:
If we face a lock down, how would we provide facilities for our staff to stay over?   In that scenario, staff for planned duty would not be allowed in the building but would still need to be paid and how do remaining staff have time off within a lock down?
ANSWER:
Such a situation should only be needed in the context of advice from Public Health. There is experience that we can draw on from other parts of the country.  Should a care home be required to close commissioners and Public Health will work closely with any provider to consider the implications. Further consideration about issues of financial viability are being considered by the commissioners and advice will be given asap (15/3)

QUESTION 4:
What are your thoughts on staff shortages that we cannot manage?
ANSWER:
We would encourage all providers to keep us advised of any staffing challenges that threaten your ability to maintain a safe service. We are looking at redeploying staff away from other duties to direct to the front line. We are looking at issue of financial sustainability where providers need to purchase from agencies but recognise that they are prey to the same staffing challenges. (15/3)

QUESTION 5:
Do we still pay staff who report symptoms of the virus or need to self-isolate because other family members have the virus?
ANSWER:
Employers, staff and the general public should all follow the government’s frequently updated advice on when to self-isolate. This will be because of sickness, symptoms or having been in close contact with someone (i.e. family member) who has COVID-19.
Normal employment law is still in place regarding employees rights around sick leave and sick pay. The Government has also stated that Care Workers are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay from Day 1 and that anyone on zero based contracts may also be eligible if they earn more than £118 per week (over an 8 week period).
Any employer has the right to require a member of staff to stay away or go home because they are unwell or pose a risk (due to infection) to others. If a staff member is self-isolating but is not exhibiting symptoms (i.e. not sick) then consideration might be given to how this employee can contribute to other duties to support the business whilst still maintaining self-isolation.
Employers will make their own decisions about the steps they need to take to sustain the workforce but further consideration is being given locally to determine whether the Council and NHS should take action beyond that to support providers financially. This will be advised as soon as possible. (17/3)

Finance

QUESTION 1:
Financial support in the event of a number vacancies occurring in Care Homes or income reduction in other settings.
ANSWER:
Proposals for supporting provider sustainability are being considered and will be advised as a matter of urgency (15/3)

QUESTION 2:
Will providers be recompensed for additional staffing costs?
ANSWER:
This issue is being considered in the context of national guidance and we will be advised as a matter of urgency (15/3)

QUESTION 3:
If my employee has to self isolate themselves – would I get paid for their backfill?
ANSWER:
This issue is being considered in the context of national guidance  and we will be advised as a matter of urgency (15/3)

QUESTION 4:
I am self-employed PA and have to self-isolate – would I get paid sick leave?
ANSWER:
This issue is being considered in the context of national guidance and we will advise as a matter of urgency (15/3)

QUESTION 5:
Would we still be paid if there was a cancellation from the client/family?
ANSWER:
This issue is being considered and will be advised as a matter of urgency (15/3)

QUESTION 6:
Would we still be paid if there was a cancellation from the staff member due to illness?
ANSWER:
This issue is being considered and we be advised as a matter of urgency (15/3)

QUESTION 7:
Will we get financial support in the event of a number vacancies, voids or cancellations?
ANSWER:
This issue is being considered and we will be advised as a matter of urgency (15/3)

QUESTION 8:
How are we going to ensure timely payment to providers?
ANSWER:
Normal payment processes will continue. Information around any exceptional or additional payments with regard to the COVD-19 outbreak will be updated on the PEN website when it comes available and the payment mechanism and schedules will be included where/if appropriate. (15/3)

Legal / Insurance

QUESTION:
We have a duty of care for our staff to provide a “safe” workplace, and for our residents a “safe” environment.    How do we demonstrate this in relation to this Virus, and what are our legal liabilities?  What is our Insurance position? What would CQC position be?  What would DCC position be especially where the majority of residents are funded by DCC and we care for them on their behalf.  What are DCC’s responsibilities in this?
ANSWER:
Following National Guidance is the best guard against legal challenge, CQC inspection, Insurance issues etc. Respective provider, commissioner and regulator responsibilities are as for any other infection related incident (15/3)

Other

QUESTION:
If my Care Home is in lock down – what happens if there is an emergency like fire?
ANSWER:
In an emergency situation such as a fire when there is risk to life then normal fire and evacuation procedures would apply but please be mindful of how you manage resident’s exposure to infection (either infecting others or becoming infected themselves) during and after evacuation and adjust your plans alternative accommodation plans accordingly. (15/3)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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