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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

We will endeavour to update this page on a regular basis, as we receive your questions.

Click on a question to view the answer.


Business continuity planning

Can DCC review the business continuity plans for coronavirus?

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.

Please read our business continuity good practice tips for providers.

If you would like the County Council to review your business continuity plans or to offer any support please email qualityimprovement-mailbox@devon.gov.uk and they can support you.

Has any provider undertaken a risk assessment or set up specific policies they might share? How have providers set up contingency for staff shortages?

Business Continuity good practice tips for providers and some useful links to refer to.

We would encourage you to share good examples of BCPs with one another on the Care Managers Facebook Page, LinkedIn and Outstanding Managers Facebook Page . If you register on these facebook pages you will be able to access all sorts of examples posted by providers. (26/3)

If my care home is in lock down – what happens if there is an emergency like a fire?

In an emergency situation such as a fire when there is risk to life than normal fire and evacuation procedures would apply but please be mindful of how you manage residents’ exposure to infection (either infecting others or becoming infected themselves) during and after evacuation and adjust your alternative accommodation plans accordingly. (26/3)

If the invoicing team are quarantined do DCC have back up plans to be able to pay providers in the usual timescales?

DCC departments have business continuity plans prepared. Staff who handle payments are organised in a range of teams which are based at a number of different locations around the county. If required, staff skills are transferrable to support Accounts Payable operations.

How will priority for services be determined?

Service user prioritisation guidance has been prepared for use by care management and providers and is being issued on this 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)

How do we manage/understand whether there is enough care home placements available to meet the demand as some homes are now on lock down?

If providers are doing anything to affect their available beds they should email adultsc.adultcarehealthcovid19-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

The information from providers is being collated to give us a county-wide perspective so that any gaps in provision can be tackled.

How are we going to maintain and increase flow from hospitals in such circumstances?

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. (27/3)

COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements

What ‘alternative’ service delivery is available in the event we can’t access beds from the independent sector?

We are preparing additional facilities which can be used to support the rapid discharge of medically fit patients if sufficient care home or personal care provision is unavailable.  This includes developing hotels and similar venues.  We are aligned with the staff redeployment workstream to ensure we have sufficient trained staff available to run these additional facilities. (27/3)


Wellbeing

A resident becomes ill – would their age/health determine if they are admitted to hospital?

The presentation of need would determine hospitalisation. The latest guidance refers to policy around isolation. (15/3)

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?

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)

My clients’ families are extremely worried and thinking of stopping our visits.

We recognise providers are well prepared to respond to the challenge of containing coronavirus and will have robust infection control measures which will have already been implemented.

However, if the family still choose to cancel care visits and is able to support their loved one safely at home stopping the visit from care workers could reduce the chances of spreading coronavirus. If family were to become unable to provide support to their loved one because they became unwell (or for any other reason) families need to know they can get back in touch to reinstate the visits.

What should I do if one of my staff members has COVID-19?

They should immediately self-isolate and follow government guidance. Please contact Public Health England for further advice.

Read government guidance information and advice on payments to staff who are self-isolating.

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)

What should I do if a family/friend of a client has COVID-19?

Please follow national guidance. (24/3)

In what circumstances should a care home reduce or stop external visitors?

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?

How do we support challenging client groups?

By their very nature those with dementia and Learning disabilities will struggle to retain the central government guidance about social isolation, social distancing, handwashing, presenting at primary care etc.

This is a very new dictate and some members of our community will not be able to retain this information.  Social care’s role will be to minimise the risk to these clients and help to manage their behaviour by working with firstly their families, and over time we may need to support more European style measures to ensure these clients adhere to the guidance.

What about my own care if I live alone – food and hydration?

If you are concerned for your own or someone else’s wellbeing due to care not being provided please follow the advice below:

  • If the person 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 on 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 the Pinpoint Devon directory.

Should we stop going to people who don’t need essential care?

All providers should be prioritising the most vulnerable people, using the prioritisation tool which Devon County Council has circulated.

You will be advised when decisions are made to deprioritise individuals care and support. We also recognise that you may have to deprioritise individuals care and support to respond to staffing pressures in your own organisation.

If you have to implement such measures please advise us as soon as possible by emailing adultsc.adultcarehealthcovid19-mailbox@devon.gov.uk (24/3)


Wellbeing in accommodation with care: care homes and supported living

How to manage COVID-19 in care homes

The British Geriatrics Society has published the following guidance about how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in care homes.


Guidance for personal assistants and other providers of social care support

What support/guidance is out there for personal assistants and individuals who manage a direct payment?

Guidance for personal assistants and other providers of social care support

If the person 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

There is a template Critical Worker letter for Care Companies to use as a template and to keep in people’s glove box.


Communications

Who is going to communicate with personal assistants (PAs)?

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 updates from our PEN website to find advice and guidance. (15/3)

How will communications reach the provider market?

Providers should refer to this website for most up to date guidance. Local communications will be cascaded through cluster hubs as these are established.

In addition to this website and email distribution, there will be an opportunity to take part in a number of virtual forums which have now been established.

You will be invited to join a forum relevant to your provision.

  • Care Home Forum.
  • Dom Care Provider.
  • Supported Living providers are being called individually. (24/3)

How are we all going to communicate with service users?

We have sent a letter to all service users and carers. Some common messaging that we can share with you to share with your users.

How are we going to communicate with carers?

We recognise that this is a stressful and uncertain time for carers, so we are writing to you to outline the support that is available to help you to continue caring during the current coronavirus situation.

Coronavirus information for carers

Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK

This guidance is for everyone, including children. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting guidance is available.


Staff/Service user concerns

Do providers need to contact DCC/ CCG when there is a confirmed Covid-19 case in either the care workforce or individual receiving care and support?

It would be helpful if you could report a positive case to the COVID-19 mailbox.

If an unpaid carer/PA has Coronavirus/corona virus symptoms, what would happen if they can no longer provide care?

We do require you to inform us by emailing the COVID-19 mailbox, as well as phoning Public Health England via 111. If the person 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. (26/3)


Staff

If the service user does have coronavirus and the carer will not deliver care would the advice from the NHS be that these patients would need to be hospitalised?

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 COVID-19 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)

If an unpaid carer/PA has coronavirus/coronavirus symptoms, what would happen if they can no longer provide care?

We do require you to inform us by emailing adultsc.adultcarehealthcovid19-mailbox@devon.gov.uk, as well as phoning Public Health England on 111. If the person has a direct payment they should speak either to their named care manager or to Care Direct on 0345 155 1007.

If the person has had no contact with the Council and needs advice, they should contact Care Direct on 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 Devon.

(26/03)


Other support available

What other support is out there?

Coronavirus Business Support
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. This page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

Access to Volunteer Support
Volunteers may be in a position to support people with shopping collection and delivery, prescription collection and delivery, in line with government guidelines on age etc,  and telephone contact for emotional support. DCC are in urgent discussion with the sector around what other tasks might be safely undertaken by volunteers in the weeks to come and we will keep you informed as this develops. We are establishing  a networked, localised response (of H&SC Locality Teams, Acute Discharge, Regulated and Unregulated Care Market, VCSE and Community Groups) to meet critical social care need.


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