Up to £50 million will be available to care providers to support restrictions on staff movement to be implemented as part of Scotland’s winter plan for social care.
In the plan, providers will be required to demonstrate they have done everything they can to limit staff movement. This will include requiring agency staff who are asked to support care homes with COVID to self-isolate for 14 days, before moving to another setting.
Providers are also required to introduce a daily review of COVID symptoms in care home residents and staff, and increase nursing provision to deal with the clinical complexity of people residing in care homes. The Clinical and Professional Advisory Group will provide and issue a checklist of the broader COVID symptoms common to the care home cohort.
The winter plan centres around four key principles:
- Learning from evidence to protect people who use social care support from the direct impact of COVID-19, and wider winter viruses.
- Ensuring that people have good physical and mental health and wellbeing, through provision of high quality integrated health and care services.
- Supporting the social care workforce to deliver safe support and care and to have positive mental health and wellbeing.
- Working in collaboration to plan and deliver high quality care.
Health and social care secretary Jeane Freeman has also clarified that health Boards must ensure that the national testing requirements are followed in relation to hospital discharge. This states that COVID-19 recovered patients considering care home admission should have two negative tests before discharge and follows Public Health Scotland analysis of discharges from hospital to care homes which found that care home size has the strongest association with outbreaks of COVID-19, even after considering discharge from hospital.
As at Tuesday 3 November care home COVID-free visiting guidelines recommend one designated visitor, indoors for up to four hours once a week and up to six people from no more than two households for one hour once a week. Ffurther advice and options to opening up care home visiting will be provided alongside expanded testing for designated visitors.
During the winter months, care home regulator, The Care Inspectorate will continue scrutiny and improvement activity. The winter plans finds that COVID-19 has presented particular challenges for the following groups:
- People with dementia and their carers
- People with autism and learning disabilities
- People with a sensory impairment and those with communication needs. As a priority, the needs of this group must be considered when they access health care facilities and communications must be available in appropriate language and accessible formats.
In total, the Scottish Government is offering winter funding of up to £112 million, including £50m to support the additional costs of restricting staff movement across care settings. The balance comprises:
- £50 million for the Social Care Staff Support Fund and winter sustainability funding through to the end of March 2021
- £7 million for Health Boards to invest in Nurse Director teams to support increased infection protection and control measures in care settings
- Up to £5 million for additional oversight and administration costs associated with responding to the pandemic and outbreak management.