Guidance for service maintenance during COVID-19

Public Health England has published guidance to support service delivery in care homes during COVID-19.

Steps may include:

  • use tools to report capacity for bed vacancies (such as the Capacity Tracker or Care Pulse) to support system resilience
  • use tools for the secure transfer of information, such as NHSMail, recognising that not all providers currently have access to NHSMail
  • increase the use of Skype and other tools for secure virtual conference calls, to ensure advice from GPs, acute care staff, and community health staff can be given

How care homes can minimise the risks of transmission

To minimise the risk of transmission, care home providers are advised to review their visiting policy, by asking no one to visit who has suspected COVID-19 or is generally unwell, and by emphasising good hand hygiene for visitors. Contractors on site should be kept to a minimum. The review should also consider the wellbeing of residents, and the positive impact of seeing friends and family.

If a resident has symptoms of COVID-19

  • For residents with symptoms of COVID-19, care homes should implement isolation precautions for influenza
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) for close contact activities   
  • Clean frequently-touched surfaces.
  • Implement strict contaminated waste disposal

The guidance also covers the following:

  • Wearing personal protective equipment
  • Steps the NHS can take to support care
  • If a member of staff is concerned they have COVID-19
  • Government support including increased statutory Sick Pay (SSP)  
  • Steps local authorities can take to support care home provision
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