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Conducting risk assessment to deliver safe adult day care

Individual risk assessments for COVID-19 for face-to-face services

People using services and their carers

As part of conversations between providers, people who access services and their carers and families, and the prioritisation of face-to-face and group activities, an individual assessment of needs for care and support will need to be conducted for those who would normally access the service. This is to enable providers and commissioners to both understand people’s needs and how they may be met. Some important areas to consider include:

  • Support needs, including changes in the mental, physical or cognitive wellbeing of the service user, as well as the wellbeing of carers.
  • Safeguarding concerns raised and the extent to which current care arrangements are sustainable and meet their needs.
  • Identifying service users who are at higher risk of serious illness as a result of weakened immune systems.
  • People who may not be able to follow guidelines that help protect them and others from the spread of COVID-19. For example, not being able keep their distance from other people, wear a face covering or mask, issues with staff or volunteers wearing a mask when working with them, difficulties with regular hand washing.
  • People that require support with aerosol generating procedures. Guidance on AGPs included in the COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social careshould be followed.
  • Risks around anxiety, stress and behavioural changes as a result of the changes to social interactions and routines following COVID-19 and Long COVID. For example, distress in relation to PPE, changed routines and fear of enclosed spaces.

Staff and volunteers

Similarly, providers should also have individual conversations with all staff and volunteers in order to assess risk and identify any needs, support or adaptations that may need to be made. Day centres are staffed by a wide range of people, and it will be important to:

  • Identify those who are more at risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or weakened immune system.
  • Assess the risks associated with those individuals and identifying actions to minimise the risks.

Care has to be taken when asking for personal health information and this should only be asked for when it’s required to support the worker. The level of detail provided should be no more than is necessary and reasonable. Staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds may have increased concerns about COVID-19, and employers should handle these conversations sensitively.

A health declaration form may help with this process. Ofsted’s ‘social care health self-declaration form’ could be adapted for this use.

Staff whose health makes them clinically extremely vulnerable to serious illness should follow guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness as a result of weakened immune systems.

Other risk assessment considerations for providers

Providers should also consider risk assessments for particular buildings, activities and contingency planning. This could include:

  • overall numbers attending services and staffing
  • number of people within each room or part of the building at one time
  • regular cleaning of shared hoists and mobility equipment between client uses
  • regular cleaning of kitchen or refreshment facilities
  • activities involving shared objects or those that involve increased blowing or breathing out – for example, singing or exercise; risk can be reduced by moving activities outside or to a well-ventilated room