COVID-19 Government publication on Care homes

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Care homes: visiting restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic: government response to the committee’s fifteenth report of session 2019-21

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the Government’s formal response to the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its report, ‘Care Homes: Visiting restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic’ published 05 May 2021. The Committee’s report focused on guidance to care homes in England on restricting visiting during the pandemic. The report raised concerns about the proportionality of measures set out in guidance and reiterates the Committee’s call for legislation to require individualised risk assessments to be undertaken for each resident. The Government response addresses the main concerns raised in the report. The Government response also states that it will keep under review all of its guidance for care homes during Covid-19 to ensure that it is appropriately balancing the current risk to care home residents of Covid-19 with their right to family life.

Last updated on hub: 04 August 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes: operational guidance

Department of Health and Social Care

This guidance has been produced to help support the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (‘the regulations’). These regulations require registered persons (service providers) at all Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care homes (which provide accommodation together with nursing or personal care) to ensure that anyone who works or volunteers in the indoor premises of that care home must demonstrate that they have been vaccinated or have an exemption. The regulations state that from 11 November 2021, anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19), unless exempt. The guidance includes a summary of the regulations, and guidance on demonstrating evidence, medical exemptions, registered persons, for staff, local authorities, residents and relatives and friends of residents, and visiting professionals. Annex A to the guidance covers good employment practice. [First published 4 August 2021. Last updated: 3 September 2021]

Last updated on hub: 04 August 2021

COVID-19 testing schedule for a suspected or confirmed outbreak in a care home

Department of Health and Social Care

Guidance for care homes dealing with a suspected or confirmed outbreak of Covid-19. Care homes should follow a regular staff testing regime of weekly PCR testing and twice weekly lateral flow testing. An outbreak is defined as 2 or more clinically suspected or confirmed positives (rapid lateral flow or PCR) among residents or staff detected in the same 14-day period. However, one positive test result may be the first sign of an outbreak, so you should contact your local health protection team (HPT) for advice in this instance. The guidance explains what to do In the event of an outbreak; and covers: rapid response daily staff testing; outbreak testing; determining the end of an outbreak; the 90-day window after a positive test; newly symptomatic people; and what to do if more test kits are needed. [Last updated: 7 July 2021]

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2021

Testing for professionals visiting care homes

Department of Health and Social Care

Health, social care and other professionals may need to visit residents within care homes to provide services. This guidance sets out the testing policy for these ‘visiting professionals’. Many visiting professionals work in a variety of different settings per day, including care homes. Given the substantial risks to care home residents if COVID-19 is introduced to the home, it is essential that professionals and all staff are tested regularly before visiting care homes to reduce the risk of transmission across different settings and to help keep residents and staff safe. The guidance covers: NHS professionals visiting care homes who are part of regular staff testing; testing for CQC inspectors visiting care homes; professionals not regularly tested through NHS or CQC staff testing; 90-day window; and void or invalid results. [Last updated: 7 July 2021]

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2021

Extended use of face mask guidance in social care settings including adult care homes

Scottish Government

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to the social care sector, visiting professionals, residents and service users and their family and friends on the wearing of face masks when in social care settings. The key points of this guidance are: face masks are the final layer of protection from COVID-19, the other layers of protection include physical distancing, hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning, and good ventilation remain paramount; remember “hand hygiene” – every time you change or touch your mask or face covering; all staff providing direct care should wear a Fluid Resistant Surgical Mask (FRSM) throughout their shift as per the guidance; all staff working in non-direct care roles - such as domestic, administration, or management - who work in offices, laundry or kitchen areas, should wear face coverings when working within 2 metres of another person, and should wear an FRSM if in contact with care home residents; in office areas where there is good ventilation and 2 metres physical distancing face coverings are not required; residents in a care home are not required to wear a FRSM or face covering within the care home, which is first and foremost their own home; individuals receiving care within their own home are not required to wear a FRSM or face covering within their home.

Last updated on hub: 28 June 2021

Making vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes: government response

Department of Health and Social Care

Government response to findings from a consultation on a proposal to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes. The consultation asked for views on whether people supported the proposed legislative change, the scope of the policy, proposed exemptions, implementation methods; and sought views on equality impacts and impact on maintaining safe levels of staffing and the workforce. Overall, the consultation showed that, while a majority (57%) of respondents did not support the proposal, the responses from the adult social care sector were mixed, with some group, for example care home providers mostly supporting the proposed legislative change while others, such as service users and relatives of service users were mostly opposed. Based on feedback received during the consultation, the Government made three key changes to the proposals set out in the original consultation document: it is extending the scope of the policy to all CQC-registered care homes, in England, which provide accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care, not just those care homes which have at least one person over the age of 65 living in their home; it is extending the requirement to be vaccinated to include all persons who enter a care home, regardless of their role (excluding those that have medical exemptions; residents of that care home; friends and family of residents who are visiting; those entering to assist with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work; and those under the age of 18); it will provide exemptions for those entering to assist with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work; and clinical trial participants.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

Stopping movement of staff between care settings: response to consultation

Department of Health and Social Care

This document summarises the responses to that consultation regarding proposed new regulations to limit staff movement between care homes and other health and care settings and sets out the government’s response to the issues raised. The proposal the government consulted on was to: create a temporary requirement that CQC registered care home providers do not deploy staff to provide personal or nursing care if they are, or have in the previous 14 days, been carrying on a regulated activity in another health or social care setting (further details on which groups are excluded is set out in this document); provide a limited temporary exception to the requirement in order that care home providers can continue to ensure enough staff are available to care for service users safely. This would allow providers to use people who are also being deployed in another health or social care setting, but only for a reasonable period of time to allow the provider to make other arrangements to enable them to comply with the requirement. Overall, several respondents acknowledged the government’s imperative to do everything it can to minimise the risk of infection of COVID-19 and other viral illnesses in care homes. The majority of respondents (56%) believed that the proposed requirement had the potential to reduce staff movement, although around half of the respondents who expressed this (29% of all respondents) felt that changes to the proposals would be needed. Examples of concerns about the proposal included: confusion about the scope of the regulations and which staff and/or locations it would cover; the impact it could have on staffing levels and the impact on the provision of care to residents; the cost of implementing the proposed regulation.

Last updated on hub: 31 May 2021

Adult social care monthly statistics, England: background quality and methodology

Department of Health and Social Care

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) publishes weekly statistics on COVID-19 in adult social care settings. This document primarily sets out information on the data sources and methodology used to generate the statistics. These statistics cover: first dose COVID-19 vaccinations in social care settings for staff and residents; infection prevention control (IPC) measures in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 in care homes; staffing-levels in care homes; COVID-19 testing for staff, residents and visitors of care homes. [First published 13 May 2021 with the title 'Adult social care monthly statistics, England: methodology'. Last updated 12 August 2021]

Last updated on hub: 17 May 2021

Care home COVID-19 testing guidance for testing of staff and residents

Department of Health and Social Care

This guidance explains what care homes should do in the event of a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 outbreak. Care homes should follow a regular staff testing regime of weekly PCR testing and twice weekly lateral flow testing. An outbreak is defined as two or more clinically suspected or confirmed positives (rapid lateral flow or PCR) among residents or staff detected in the same 14-day period. However, one positive test result may be the first sign of an outbreak, so care homes should contact your local health protection team (HPT) for advice in this instance. [Published: 24 March 2021; Last updated: 7 July 2021]

Last updated on hub: 26 April 2021

Care home COVID-19 testing guidance for testing of staff and residents

Department of Health and Social Care

This guidance explains how to access test kits and step-by-step guides on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents, staff and visiting professionals. Regular and outbreak COVID-19 testing is available to all adult care homes. All Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care homes can apply for regular COVID-19 testing from NHS Test and Trace. Care homes use both rapid lateral flow test and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Using both combines the rapid results of lateral flow testing with the higher sensitivity of PCR tests. Lateral flow tests will quickly identify some individuals who are highly infectious, enabling swift action to minimise spread of the virus, while the PCR test will identify those with a lower viral load, when the results are received. New care home residents receive a PCR test when moving from hospital or from the community into a care home. We have published a service model for care homes testing individuals moving into a care home. Testing is also available for care home visitors (when indoor close contact visits are permitted as per national policy). [Published: 24 March 2021; Last updated: July 2021]

Last updated on hub: 26 April 2021

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