25 March 2020

Social Care – Effect on Residents, Carers and Relatives

What are Care Homes’ obligations in relation to Covid-19?

The Government’s guidance on residential care provision during the Covid-19 pandemic was updated on 19 March 2020.

It targets:

  • Local Authorities
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Registered Providers of accommodation for people who need personal and nursing care. This includes Care Homes and Nursing Homes for people with learning difficulties, mental health and other disabilities.

As a Care Home Provider, you are advised to work with your Local Authority to establish plans for mutual aid. This includes sharing staff and deploying volunteers where it is safe to do so.

You are encouraged to use electronic tools to report capacity for bed vacancies and for the secure transfer of information. You are also advised to increase the use of virtual conference calls so advice from GPs, acute care staff, local Public Health England Health Protection teams and community health staff can be given.

What are the provisions for procuring personal protective equipment (PPE)?

The guidance on the supply and use of PPE was updated on 22 March 2020. You will already be procuring PPE such as gloves and aprons. Additional PPE will also be provided free of charge to help you comply with the updated guidance. Arrangements will be put in place so you can access further PPE as you need it.

How do we meet our obligations to Carers, Residents and Relatives at this time?

If a member of staff is concerned that they have the virus, they must follow the NHS guidance. If they are advised to self-isolate at home they should follow the Public Health England guidance. They should not visit or care for individuals until it is safe for them to do so.

To minimise the risk of transmission, you are advised to review your visiting policy. You should ask people not to visit the Home if they suspect they have Covid-19 or are generally unwell. In addition, you should emphasise good hand hygiene for visitors.

Contractors on site must be kept to a minimum.

However, it is important to keep the wellbeing of residents under review. Seeing friends and family is an important part of this.

You are not expected to have dedicated isolation facilities for people living in the home. However, you must implement isolation procedures when someone in the home is displaying symptoms of the virus. You should follow the same procedure they would if they suspected a resident of having flu. The isolation should ideally take place in a single bedroom with en-suite facilities.

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About the Author
Derek Jones, Partner

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