This page will be regularly updated with the latest guidance to support the adult social care sector during this challenging period.
The Government has published updated guidance documents on how to work safely in care homes and domiciliary (home) care during the COVID-19 pandemic. All necessary recommendations from the COVID-19 personal protective equipment guidance have been applied in these documents.
Specific guidance for shared lives, extra care and supported living has been included in the following document COVID-19: provision of home care.
COVID-19: residential care, supported living and home care guidance
COVID-19: Adult social care action plan
The government have published its COVID-19 adult social care action plan setting out how it will support the adult social care sector and workforce in England. It sets out the government’s plan for:
- controlling the spread of infection in care settings
- supporting the workforce
- supporting independence, supporting people at the end of their lives, and responding to individual needs
- supporting local authorities and the providers of care.
The plan applies to all settings and contexts in which people receive adult social care. This includes people’s own homes, residential care homes and nursing homes, and other community settings. It applies to people with direct payments and personal budgets, and those who fund their own care.
COVID-19: admission and care of people in care homes
This guidance has been updated throughout in line with the care homes support package and the latest advice on testing, and infection prevention and control.
Read the full guidance here
Guidance following a COVID-19 related death of an employee in adult social care
This guidance sets out what steps local authorities and social care providers need to take following a COVID-19 related death of an employee or volunteer. It also includes bereavement resources for the social care workforce.
Read the guidance
COVID-19: reducing risk in adult social care settings
This guidance is for anyone who employs people who work in adult social care and provides a framework for how you should asses and support members of your workforce who may be at an increased risk from COVID-19. It covers the risk assessment process, measures you can put in place across the workforce and for individuals and how to have conversations with workers who are identified as being at increased risk.
Read the guidance
Advanced care planning
Some provider organisations are concerned about pressure being exerted to ensure that all the people in their care have advanced care planning in place and blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ orders.
A joint statement by the Care Provider Alliance, Care Quality Commission, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association makes it clear that advance care planning should be personalised and must not be applied to groups of people.
It’s very important that the wishes of people are respected, taking into account their capacity to make decisions, and unnecessary distress is avoided.
The Resuscitation Council has published some FAQs on ReSPECT (Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment) and a Quick Guide for Social Care is available from NICE.
COVID-19: Management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings [UPDATED 14 June 2020]
Provides advice and guidance on the management of staff and patients or residents in health and social care settings who have been exposed to COVID-19. It includes:
- staff with symptoms of COVID-19
- staff return to work criteria
- patient exposures in hospital
- resident exposures in care settings
Read the guidance here.
COVID-19: provision of home care
This refreshed guidance aims to answer frequently asked questions from registered providers, social care staff, local authorities and commissioners who support and deliver care to people in their own homes, including supported living settings, in England. It includes information on PPE, shielding and care groups, hospital discharge and testing and Government support available. Read the guidance here
Home Office extends bereavement scheme to NHS support staff and social care workers
The bereavement scheme initially launched in April for health workers in the NHS and independent health and care sector, has now been extended to the families and dependants of NHS support staff and social care workers who die as a result of contracting COVID-19.
More information can be found here
Guidance for care staff supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults
This guidance help care staff and personal assistants to keep people with learning disabilities and autistic people safe, support them to understand the changes they need to make during the COVID-19 outbreak and protect their own wellbeing. Read the guidance here.
Informing DHSC of the death of a worker in social care
This guidance covers how local authorities and social care providers can inform DHSC about the death of an employee or volunteer in social care. There’s no legal duty on employers to submit this information to DHSC, but doing so will help to make sure the appropriate steps can be taken following the death of a care worker, including support for employers. Read the guidance here
Guidance on looking after people who lack mental capacity [UPDATED 15 June 2020]
This emergency guidance is for health and social care staff in England and Wales who are caring for, or treating, a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Updates have been made to the main guidance attachment, in particular to the 'Emergency public health powers' section and 3 new attachments have been added to the page including a decision-making flowchart for decision makers in hospitals and care homes.
Read the guidance.
Guidance on hospital discharge service requirements [UPDATED 1 June 2020]
This guidance sets out how health and care systems and providers should change their discharging arrangements and the provision of community support during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The update on 20 April was a note to say that the guidance is being reviewed following publication of the COVID-19 adult social care action plan.
Read the guidance.
Guidance on how to work safely in domiciliary care [UPDATED 13 May 2020]
The Government has produced some guidance for those working in domiciliary care providing information on the use of PPE. The guidance is primarily for care workers and providers delivering care in the following settings:
- visiting homecare
- extra care housing
- live-in homecare.
Read the guidance here.
COVID-19 guidance on reuse of medicines in a care home or hospice
This guidance details how to run a safe and effective medicines reuse scheme in a care home or hospice during the COVID-19 outbreak. It gives details about using medicines labelled for one patient who no longer needs them for another patient.
Read the guidance here
COVID-19 Stay at Home guidance
This guidance is for households with a possible COVID-19 infection clearly explains how long you and your household must stay at home, how to reduce the spread of infection in your home and what you can do to get better.
Read the guidance here.
Guidance for unpaid carers
This guidance is for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.
Internet connection deals for care homes
As a care provider you may need to improve your internet connection to use technology more during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHSX and NHS Digital have been working with telecommunications companies and have published a series of offers available specifically for care homes during the pandemic.
Find out more here
COVID-19 Verifying death in time of emergency
This guidance is designed to clarify existing practice for the verification of death outside of hospitals and to provide a framework for safe verification of death during the COVID-19 emergency period. Read the guidance here
Critical Care COVID-19 Communication Chart
This symbol board was created by Widgit to help medical staff communicate quickly and easily with patients who are critically ill due to COVID-19.
The board includes symbols for immediate care needs as well as messages that patients may want to pass to family members and can be used even if the patient is being ventilated or has a tracheostomy (but is alert).
More information and download the board
RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19
HSE have published information about RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) and the reporting of COVID-19.
This information provides registered managers guidance on completing a RIDDOR report when staff may have contracted COVID-19 at work.
COVID-19: ethical framework for adult social care
The DHSC framework offers guidance on ethical considerations for local authorities and adult social care professionals planning their COVID-19 response.
It’s aimed at planners and strategic policy makers at local, regional and national level to support planning and organisation of adult social care in response to COVID-19.
Download the framework.
COVID-19 Changes to the Care Act 2014
The guidance sets out how local authorities can use the new Care Act provisions, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to prioritise care and support for those who need it most during the COVID-19 outbreak. .
Read the guidance here
Use of Mental Health Act
This guidance concerns the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of the Mental Health Act and supporting systems to safeguard the legal rights of people receiving mental health, learning disability and autism services, including specialised commissioned services.
CQC launches emergency support framework
It provides a structured framework for the regular conversations that inspectors are having with providers and covers the following four areas:
- Safe care and treatment
- Staffing arrangements
- Protection from abuse
- Assurance processes, monitoring, and risk management
Read more here
CQC publishes first insight document on COVID-19 pressures
The CQC have published an insight document focusing on adult social care. It reviews data on outbreaks, deaths and availability of PPE and highlights the impact of COVID-19 on staff wellbeing and the financial viability of adult social care services. It also outlines future areas of focus, including infection control both within and between services, how local systems are engaging social care organisations in the management of COVID-19, and how care for people from vulnerable groups is being managed through the crisis. Read the insight document here
Registration with CQC and changes to statements of purpose during COVID-19
The CQC have developed information for those making an application to change their statement of purpose to meet the demands of COVID-19 by increasing capacity or seeking temporary change of use.
Find out more.
CQC interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks
The CQC have published some guidance for providers recruiting staff and volunteers to health and social care services in response to COVID-19.
Delegating medicines administration
The CQC have produced some updated guidance on delegating medicines administration for care workers.
The CQC have pulled together a page detailing medicines information for adult social care providers which details emergency legislation and changes that are happening due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
CQC regulation to notify the death of a person using services
The notification form for the death of a person using your service, has been updated to include COVID-19 as a cause of death.
Find out more and access the form.
Recruitment and Retention
DBS - Factsheets, updated guidelines and news stories related to DBS and COVID-19
As the sector is urgently recruit staff and volunteers the DBS have put in place temporary arrangements to help this process which will enable:
- Updated ID checking guidelines to limit face-to-face contact including documents to be viewed over a video link and scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted.
- See updated guidance around temporary arrangements for free of charge DBS checks and fast track Barred List check service - [updated 15 April]
Find out more
Guidance on key workers
The government has produced Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision which defines who a key worker is.
Information for individual employers and their personal assistants
The DHSC confirm that personal assistants (PAs) are included in the definition of key workers. If your PA is being challenged they should follow the steps below:
- contact their direct payment provider (for example their local authority or care commissioning group) to ask if they have a letter or something that validates the PA is a key worker and can share with their child(ren)'s school
- provide the school with a copy of their contract of employment.
Want more Information on PAs?
Access our information hub for individual employers and PAs, where they can find our Being a PA guide and a useful YouTube video.
COVID-19: rapid care technology deployment tool
This practical guide has been developed in collaboration with those leading care technology responses to COVID-19 in councils. It outlines common challenges councils are facing and offers some potential care technology responses. More information
COVID-19: Quick Access to NHSmail
Secure communication between health and social care services is more important than ever due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. A fast track roll out of NHSMail is available to the care sector, without the need to complete the Data Security and Protection Toolkit.
Helpline launched to provide digital support to social care providers
Digital Social Care has set up a new helpline to support the adult social care sector with harnessing technology during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Their team of digital experts are available to help providers access practical advice to troubleshoot a technical problem or give in-depth one-to-one support.
The helpline is available:
Monday – Friday 9.00-17.00
Tel: 0208 133 3430
Catalyst is a charitable collective of digital agencies who are focusing on helping companies respond to the challenges of COVID-19 using digital technology. They have lots of useful resources including advice on remote working and video conferencing.
Download the remote working guide
Digital Candle is a crowd-sourced advice platform for charities. They introduce people at charities who need digital assistance, to experts who can help.
A free one hour of digital guidance for charities is available. To receive your free hour you will need to book a call to tell them what your needs and they will assign a digital expert to help you.
Article: Your Work from Home Self Care Guide
A practical article with advice on working from home and video-conferencing from Entrepreneur.com
Read the article
Learning and Development
The Apprenticeship programme response to COVID-19 [UPDATED 2 jUNE 2020]
The government have published The Apprenticeship Programme response to COVID-19 to support providers, employers and apprentices and outline new policy changes and flexibilities. The Education and Skills Funding Agency are working to ensure that apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any breaks taken as a result of COVID-19.
The guidance provides information on:
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education have also published guidance on the delivery of assessment at guidance on the delivery of assessment which will be updated regularly.
Psychological First Aid training course for frontline staff and volunteers
This free training course has been developed by Public Health England and will be available to frontline workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will allow responders to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by COVID-19 and it will also help to develop an understanding of how emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic can affect us all, how to recognise people who may be at increased risk of distress, and how to offer practical and emotional support. For more information visit the website.
Free access to COVID-19 eLearning programme
Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare have created a free eLearning programme available to all staff across health and social care.
The programme includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to COVID-19 including essential guidance from the NHS, Government and WHO, infection prevention and control, personal protection equipment and more.
Access the eLearning
The Skills Toolkit
The Government have launched a new online learning platform called The Skills Toolkit offering free, high quality courses to boost your skills in digital and numeracy.
These are the skills which are highly valued by employers and sought after in a wide range of jobs. With more people expected to be working and studying remotely in the coming months, the platform offers a great opportunity to learn new skills to help to get ahead online and gain the knowledge we’ll all need for the future. The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home
Take a look
End of life care
Managing COVID‑19 symptoms for patients in the community, including at the end of life [UPDATED 30 April 2020]
This guidance provides recommendations for managing COVID‑19 symptoms for patients in the community, including at the end of life. It also covers recommendations about managing medicines for these patients, and protecting staff from infection.
Caring for a dying relative at home with COVID-19
Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and palliative care. They have produced some guidance to support people who are caring for someone who is dying at home from COVID-19. It includes practical tips for home care, what to do when the person is not responding and when they have died. There are also lots of links to other information and useful websites.
Read the guidance
Infection prevention and control
UPDATED: COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plan and guidance
The COVID-19 PPE plan was updated on 15 April 2020 and details the government’s plan around guidance, distribution and future supply. There is also some updated guidance on the use of PPE as of 20 May 2020.
PPE portal - how to order emergency personal protective equipment: The portal can be used by social care and primary care providers to order and receive PPE and these include small residential social care providers (24 beds or fewer) and domiciliary social care providers (99 clients or fewer). For more information read the guidance
Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costs
From 1 May 2020, PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against COVID-19 will be free from VAT. This will be for a 3
month period until 31 July 2020. Read more here.
Infection prevention and control [UPDATED 21 May 2020]
This guidance outlines the infection prevention and control advice for health and social care providers involved in receiving, assessing and caring for patients who are a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Guidance on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) precautions for patients remaining in hospital, or being discharged home or residential care
The government have released guidance which provides advice on appropriate IPC precautions for patients recovering or recovered from COVID-19 and remaining in hospital, or being discharged to their own home or residential care.
Coronavirus: infection prevention and control in care homes
This recording (3 April 2020) from Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement colleagues in the South East covers protecting yourself and others, PPE, how to isolate residents and caring for those at risk of Covid-19.
Covid and care home settings from Skills for Care on Vimeo.
Find out more about infection prevention and control.
Infection Prevention and Control Q&A Session
This Q&A session will give you information and guidance on a range of issues and queries raised by those attending and some submitted in advance. The recording is applicable for all Registered Managers and IPC leads in all services.
Duration 1 hour
Q&A for Care Homes on use of PPE and IPCSkills for Care on Vimeo.
Find out more about infection prevention and control.
Coronavirus: infection prevention and control in domiciliary care
This recording (April 20) from Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement colleagues in the South East specifically looks at responding to COVID-19 issues for the domiciliary care sector and other care at home environments. It covers the key principles of reducing the spread of COVID-19, understanding how and when to use personal protective clothing, and the changes that you and staff need to make to your daily work.
Duration 1 hour
Coronavirus: infection prevention and control in domiciliary care from Skills for Care on Vimeo.
Guidance for safe handling of the deceased [UPDATED 15 May 2020]
Developed to assist care staff who manage the bodies of deceased persons who have suffered from COVID-19.
Updated to include thenresidual risk of infection from the deceased and the use of body bags, and the use of PPE for those who are responsible for care of the deceased.
See full guidance
Video: Putting on and removing PPE
This video from Public Health England, shows how to safely put on and take off the Personal Protective Equipment when caring for people with symptoms of COVID-19.
Essential Workers Testing
COVID-19 testing is available for all essential workers and has been extended to include all care homes and residents. This includes adult care homes for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.
There are different routes to arrange testing.
All social care workers with symptoms and personal care assistants and unpaid carers can get tested via a self-referral.
Social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms) can get tested via an employer portal.
Care workers and nurses who will be swabbing residents in care homes should complete the online care home swabbing competency assessment before carrying out swabbing.
Testing is also available for someone you live with, if they have symptoms, and you are an essential worker, via a self-referral.
Self- referrals can be tested at regional drive-through sites, home testing or mobile units. The Government website provides more detail on the routes to get tested, types of test, and has other useful resources such as a video and how to administer them and how your results will be obtained.
The Government introduced a ‘test and trace’ service on 28th May 2020. This service will track the contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and advise them to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to the member of staff contacted: the care worker will have to self-isolate for 14 days, as should their non-work contacts. There is no need for other colleagues to isolate. However, if a care worker has a positive test, the test and trace team will contact them, their co-workers and residents need to be referred to the Health Protection Team. The Health Protection Team will arrange testing of all co-workers and residents. This does not mean that their co-workers will have to self-isolate for 14 days – assuming PPE is being used and was not breached. You can find further guidance on managing exposure (including breaching of PPE) to COVID-19 in health and care settings here.
NHS Test and Trace: How it works
NHS Test and Trace: Workplace guidance
Stay at home guidance
Guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed coronavirus who do not live with the person
How test and testing kits for COVID-19 work: updated on 5 June to include information on antibody tests