There is guidance published by government for home care agencies on 22 May 2020. The guidance is for the registered providers, who support and deliver care to people in their own homes, including supported living settings, in England.
By home care, we mean domiciliary care agencies that provide personal care (and sometimes other support) to people living in their own homes, whatever form this may take, which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Many adults and older people require support in their own homes. This is essential to maintain an individual’s health, wellbeing and independence within their own community.
1. Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The most recent guidance from Public Health England on the use of PPE can be found on GOV.UK
Getting the right PPE
PPE supply has been an issue globally, including for many in the care sector and we are working around the clock to ensure staff on the front line can do their job safely.
If adult social care providers are unable to obtain PPE through their usual wholesalers and there remains an urgent need for additional stock, they can approach their local resilience forum (LRF).
2. Shielding and care groups
How home carers can support the shielding of clinically extremely vulnerable people receiving home care during COVID-19
People who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will have received a letter from the NHS or their GP advising them to shield. If someone has not been notified but is concerned that they are clinically extremely vulnerable, they should contact their GP.
A wider group of people – including everyone aged 70 years or over and those with long-term health conditions of any age (anyone advised to get a flu jab as an adult) – are considered ‘at risk’ and are advised to carefully follow social distancing advice.
Dividing people who receive care into ‘care groups’
Home care providers should be working with agencies involved in the health and wellbeing of the people they provide care and support to, in order to develop a multi-agency plan to reduce the number of people going into an individual’s home. This should involve:
3. Reducing contacts for shielded and at-risk people
- working with commissioners, including local authorities and CCGs to identify which people they care for are within the clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding) category, and identifying which other agencies are providing care and support
- working with the people identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding), and at-risk groups to understand which other professionals they have contact with and confirm whether they have received advice to shield or practise social distancing respectively
- identifying the priority needs and work with the person, their unpaid carer and partners in primary care, commissioning, and other care providers to review the plan for providing care and support across the wider community care team, it should have considered:
- the priority health and care needs of the person receiving care and support
- whether the needs currently met by different services can be met by a single, or reduced number of agencies
- whether staff can perform the duties of other team members or partner agencies when visiting to avoid multiple visits
- if visits from one or more agencies can be reduced
- if the number of people seeing the person from within each agency can be reduced