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Care Providers - Questions and Answers

Information and Guidance for Social Care Services

All of Welsh Government's current guidance about COVID-19 can be accessed here 

These UK Government and Welsh Government publications contain essential guidance for those delivering residential, supported living or home care services:

Powys County Council provides a weekly update on COVID-19 developments to our commissioned service providers and the issues affecting the delivery of social care services. You can view them here:

21.05.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID Comms) [1MB]

14.05.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID Comms) [680KB]

07.05.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID Comms) [705KB]

01.05.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID Comms) [3MB]

24.04.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID Comms) [1MB]

17-04-2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID19 Comms) [2MB]

09-04-2020 Letter to Providers (COVID19 Comms) [3MB]

03.04.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID19 Comms) [2MB]

27.03.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID Comms) [281KB]

20.03.2020 - Letter to Providers (COVID Comms) [158KB]

Social Care Provider Covid-19 Additional Costs proforma [18KB]

Powys County Council and PeoplePlus (Direct Payments Support Provider) provide information relating to COVID-19 for our Direct Payments recipients and their Personal Assistants.  You can view them here:

17-04-2020 Direct Payments Letter to Service Users [172KB]

27-03-2020 Direct Payments Letter to Service Users [146KB]

03-04-2020 PPE Guidance for Home Care Worker Visits COVID-19 [150KB]

08-04 -2020 Decision Making Tree and Risk Assessment [298KB]

COVID19 Testing Letter [76KB]

COVID-19 Employee Staff Testing Referral Form [101KB]

Testing Privacy Notice [17KB]

Welsh Government - Coronavirus and Personal Assistants [472KB]

Social Care ID Card [172KB]

Personal Assistant (PA) Finder Register [48KB]

21st May 2020

I read that care homes with autistic service users are not getting tested, only over 65's, can you tell me if this is true? I know the over 65's, are priority due to the size of some Homes but, clearly said service users with autism would not all be over 65.

The Government guidance is in respect of testing for "people living in care homes and other similar residential settings"and it therefore applies to any closed setting and is not just limited to a care homes for older people. The policy of testing applies to all closed settings and their residents. 

Welsh Government's guidance can be downloaded at: https://gov.wales/testing-process-care-homes-covid-19

There is also revised guidance from Public Health Wales Guidance to Prevent COVID-19 Among Care Home Residents and Manage Cases & Outbreaks in Residential Care Settings in Wales which is available at: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/information-for-healthcare-workers-in-wales/guidance-to-prevent-covid-19-among-care-home-residents-and-manage-cases-and-outbreaks-in-residential-care-settings-in-wales/   

19th May 2020

I would like to ask if PPE could be made available to volunteer drivers via PCC or PLHB?  We cannot find masks except for the very expensive masks that we cannot afford

The PPE stocks that Powys County Council currently distributes on behalf of Welsh Government are only for the use of health and social care staff providing direct care within 2m of individuals. Consequently, this stock is ineligible for issue to services, such as community transport, who do not provide direct care. 

We are aware that when services are commissioned from community transport services by organisations such as WAST, where PPE might be required, they should be providing it to the service. 

Powys County Council is currently looking at whether funds available through the Integrated Care Fund in Powys might be available to assist community transport schemes with PPE purchase costs. We will update you about this once the situation is clarified.

Can you please update us on where Powys stands with the announcement from the Welsh Government on the blanket routine testing for health and social care workers?

Welsh Government's statement on 16 May 2020 about the extension of testing in care homes states that care homes with ongoing incidents / outbreaks prior to May will be offered testing for all residents and staff who have not previously tested positive for Covid-19.   

Public Health Wales has begun this testing programme in Powys and is currently arranging test visits to all the homes concerned. Also, all care homes will shortly be able to bulk order test kits through the UK government testing portal. 

Key ('Critical') workers i.e. social care staff who are symptomatic can get a test in two ways: 

(email: powysresourcing@wales.nhs.uk

Welsh Government's recently revised 'Critical Workers Testing Policy' can be downloaded at:  https://gov.wales/critical-workers-testing-policy-coronavirus-covid-19-html 

Guidance on how to apply for tests can be downloaded at: https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test

Do you have any more information about the £500 payment to Care staff that was announced by Welsh Government of 1 May 2020?

There have been no further announcements by Welsh Government on this matter since the payment was announced on 1st May. 

However, First Minister Mark Drakeford was interviewed and quoted by WalesOnline on 8th May, answering questions about the scheme: 

"Our £500 will be the same whether you are part-time or full-time and we have gone with the flat rate because that is the most progressive thing you can do." 

He added that this will also apply to people on zero hours contracts and said they had offered a flat rate to all because it would "mean more" to people who work less. 

Mr Drakeford added: "The less you earn the more £500 will mean to you and we took a decision we will provide it no matter how many hours you are working." 

Another area of confusion stemmed from if this would apply to all care home staff such as cooks or cleaners. WalesOnline had sought clarification about this from the Welsh Government previously and the First Minister said it would not. 

He said: "The £500 applies to anybody providing direct personal care." 

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/care-staff-500-bonus-wales-18221431

Will you be moving to a single flat rate payment per resident for the welsh Government 'Hardship Fund' for extra costs incurred due to COVID-19, rather than asking for lots of information per claim?

We do not intend to change the current arrangement used in Powys.  

The information asked for on the proforma is required by the Welsh Government criteria for the scheme which obliges Powys County Council to "quantify and qualify" each element of the expenditure claimed. 

Some employees self-isolated /shielded for 12 weeks at the beginning of the corona virus outbreak therefore would be due to return to work during June. Providers have not received any information about what the expectation is in the future. Are you able to provide us with an update of what employees and providers can expect will happen or when information about shielding employees will be available from government

The Government advice currently remains that employees in this situation should continue to self-isolate.  

However, we anticipate that this guidance is likely to be reviewed shortly and we advise Providers to look for any updates from the Government.  

Powys County Council will update Providers as and when any revised or additional guidance about this issue is published

14th May 2020

Are you in position to provide any more information about the £500 payment the welsh government announced would be paid to care home staff?
Is this for all care home staff or care staff only? (They are all exposed to the same risks)
How will this be paid and when will it be paid?
Will people shielding, furloughed or on long term sick qualify?
Is it a set amount or is it pro rata?
Many staff have multiple contracts within the same home, some with small Support worker contacts e.g. a domestic would have 30 hours with a 5 hours support worker contract or a bank SW contract. If It's not paid to all frontline staff how would we enable the people in the example above receive it?

We understand that the arrangements for making the payment are currently being developed by Welsh Government. However, Powys County Council has not yet been provided with any information about the detail of the arrangements, so we regret we are unable to answer the questions raised at the moment.

We will of course share further information about the payment and the arrangements for it with Providers once that information is available.

5th May 2020

What is the process regarding service users withdrawing from care and support because they are trying to avoid the virus?
Who is responsible for checking they are managing?
Do we have to report to the care manager?
What if people have temporarily moved to another address or out of Powys?
Do we keep the care package open as some service users are already asking for (part) resumption of care and support?
Will social workers cancel packages in the meantime?

The steps that need to be taken in these types of situation will vary according the specific circumstances of the individual concerned and the care or support arrangements that are in place for them.

However, all these situations must be discussed with the Social Worker or other relevant professionals working with the service user, to ensure individuals' needs will be met appropriately and safely.

Providers must also raise the matter with the relevant Powys County Council commissioning officer. As Powys County Council is currently paying providers on the basis of planned care packages, any options for the temporary redeployment of the service capacity that might be released, will need to be considered as part of that discussion.

A member of staff has arranged a test in Hereford. Is it ok if staff arrange a test elsewhere, not going through PCC?

Powys County Council appreciates that care staff living in England may decide to do this and that this is a matter of individual choice.

We will keep providers updated about any changes to worker testing arrangements in Wales.

Are facemasks as effective as a face shield? Can staff just wear a face shield without the mask to make breathing easier, especially when working more than two meters away?

Face masks and googles or face shields (visors) perform different infection control purposes and give different types of protection to staff and those they provide care to.

Service providers should follow the guidance published by Public Health Wales about their use:

  • If providing direct care to any member of a household where any member of the household is a possible or confirmed COVID-19 case, staff should use a fluid resistant surgical mask. The use of either single use or sessional use eye/face protection should be risk assessed.
  • If providing direct care to any individuals in the extremely vulnerable group, or when visiting a household where a household member is within the extremely vulnerable group undergoing shielding,  staff should use a single use face mask but no eye protection is required
  • Community and social care, care home, mental health inpatients and other overnight care facilities. If providing direct resident care (within 2 metres) with possible or confirmed case(s) of COVID-19, staff should use a fluid resistant surgical mask. The need for sessional use of eye/face protection should be risk assessed.

A table showing all the types of PPE that are recommended by Public Health Wales for use in different care situations can be found at:

 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878750/T2_poster_Recommended_PPE_for_primary__outpatient__community_and_social_care_by_setting.pdf

30th April 2020

We experience delays in testing and getting testing results for our staff that have symptoms.

We are aware there were initially delays in getting back results following testing, but we have been assured this has now been resolved.  

In terms of the process itself. The Council sends the testing forms, after triage, to Welsh Government every day. They then must authorise the tests and pass it on to the NHS, who contact the person to be tested to make arrangements for it.  

The test results are usually received within 72 hours and are now being provided to the Council to share with your staff members. If you do experience delays in receiving test results contact us at pccsscommissioning@powys.gov.uk  

We contract with Powys CC. When the restrictions are lifted will Advocacy services have access to PPE? As we provide Face to face contact with Service users.  

Under current Welsh Government guidance, the PPE supplied to us by Welsh Government is not available for advocacy services as it is restricted for services undertaking provision of personal care.

We will communicate any changes to future guidance.  However, we would be happy to discuss individual situation with providers if there is a case for the use of PPE according to the Public Health Wales guidance. 

Could you provide an update as to where we are in Wales with testing please? I understand in England the government have said key workers and their families will be able to get tested. Is this the same for Wales? It should be the same but some clarity as to where we are with this would be useful.

Welsh Government is currently working upon several improvements to arrangements: 

  • Officials are working to provide a web-based booking platform to remove the bureaucracy. This is at an advanced stage and updates will be provided on progress with this during this week 
  • It has removed the ceiling on number of test referrals per local authority. 
  • A Critical Worker Policy has been published which outlines how and when critical workers beyond those in health and social care can be referred for testing. See: https://gov.wales/critical-workers-testing-policy-coronavirus-covid-19-html 
  • Welsh Government officials are working with local authorities and Local Resilience Fora to ensure that process are reviewed and revised in light of experience and to make sure that there is effective prioritising of testing requests so that essential services can remain viable - i.e. care homes/fire. 
  • Welsh Government officials have asked the military to undertake a rapid review of how to operationalise the programme arrangements for testing to support and improve the end-to-end process. This will help speed up and eliminate any fragmentation in the system. 

Key points from the Critical Worker Policy that providers need to be aware of are: 

 

Critical workers are defined as: 

  • Health and social care workers 
  • Public safety (emergency workers) and national security workers 
  • Local and national government workers 
  • Education and childcare workers 
  • Food and other necessary goods 
  • Transport workers 
  • Utilities, communication and financial services workers 
  • Key public service workers 

Unless explicitly indicated Critical Workers (or a household member) will only be tested if they are symptomatic. Worker (or a household member) who have been sent for testing or tests have been requested for them and they are not symptomatic will not be tested. 

If testing is requested for a Critical Worker (or a household member) and relates to early return to work: 

  • testing should only be offered if they are self-isolating and symptom onset was less than five days 
  • If isolating because household member is symptomatic, there is only benefit if they have been doing so for 12 days 

Although there is enough PPE currently, staff would like to know what they are required to do if there would be a moment we run out of supply while there are service users needing care support. A clear procedure would give staff some peace of mind. 

We continue to be confident that there is sufficient supply of PPE and that we are not going to face a shortage here in Powys.  If we felt that this situation was changing, we would communicate this honestly with you and work with you to agree a way forward.  However, at this time we do not believe that any different approach is required. 

21st April 2020

Are there any plans to issue testing kits to care homes? Is there a testing site other than Cardiff for Powys?

Note: This guidance supersedes our previously published information on this matter.

Public Health Wales undertakes the COVID-19 testing for residents of local care homes. If you need to make arrangements for tests you can contact them at: PHW.covid19enclosedsettings@wales.nhs.uk or 0300 00 300 32. They have two testing sites in Powys, one in Welshpool and one in Bronllys.

Testing for COVID-19 is available to all care staff who are eligible, and information about the criteria and the arrangements for testing have been shared with providers.

We are not aware of any plans being developed by Public Health Wales to develop other testing sites for staff.  However, if we are made aware of any such development, we will inform providers accordingly.

20th April 2020

Do social care staff have the same privileges as NHS staff regarding accessing shopping if they display their ID badge?

Note: This guidance supersedes our previously published information on this matter.

Social Care Wales has introduced the 'Social Care Worker Card' to help recognise the key role social care workers have in supporting individuals in every community in Wales.

It is intended to help social care workers prove their identity with the police, when travelling from home to their work, and supermarkets, when trying to benefit from special shopping arrangements made for NHS staff and other key workers.

Social Care Wales has communicated with the police, Transport for Wales, bus companies and retail representatives, raising their awareness of the new card and encouraging them to formally recognise it.

There are two forms of the card; a digital version and a physical card which is made of plastic.

Social Care Wales has contacted all professionally regulated social care workers on their Register; introducing the card and providing them with instructions on how to download it onto their smartphone. The plastic cards will be posted to the registered workers when they are ready.

All managers on Social Care Wales' Register have been asked to distribute the same information to the members of their teams who need the card but are currently not registered with Social Care Wales.

Further information about the card can be found at: https://socialcare.wales/service-improvement/social-care-worker-card-faqs#section-35874-anchor

16th April 2020

Hospitals in Powys are increasing their Capacity. Will this affect the current workforce in Powys?

We anticipate that the steps being taken to increase health service capacity in Powys will create additional staffing requirements for Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) and the Council. 

Any impact that increased health service capacity may have on the wider social care workforce is difficult to measure currently, especially as both the health board and the Council are undertaking steps to meet staffing needs, which include: 

  • Redeployment of existing staff 
  • Recruitment of additional agency staff 
  • Potential use of community volunteers in support of these services  

What is PCC's contingency plan if a provider's staffing capacity reduces to the point they can no longer provide support to identified individuals and all other options have been exhausted? What support will be available to providers at this point? 

Powys County Council fully appreciates the challenges with maintaining adequate staffing levels that our commissioned service providers are currently experiencing and of the need to increase the available social care workforce in this difficult time. 

The Council has put several measures in place to help support Provider's with current and future staffing needs including: 

  • Maintaining regular contact with all our providers; checking on staffing losses and availability. This is enabling us to have an overview of potential needs and to provide additional support promptly when its needed (including deployment of PCC staff in support of services) 
  • The redeployment of care staff released by the temporary closure of day centres in support of other care services. 
  • Identifying and training PCC non-social care staff for potential redeployment in the delivery of care services. 
  • Arrangements have been established with Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) for the training and deployment of community volunteers in care services. 

We expect that the availability of COVID-19 testing for social care staff in Powys will assist staffing levels to be maintained by allowing staff to return to work from precautionary self-isolation, etc. 

We ask that all providers let us know of any possible service delivery issues, including staffing difficulties, as soon as you identify them. This will enable the Council to work with you to resolve matters before they worsen. 

We currently have a tenant that suffers with mental health problems, who leaves the setting regularly to visit their boyfriend. Staff will discuss with them the risks, but they will leave anyway. This has been highlighted a number of times to police and the police have also discussed with them the risks of what they are doing leaving/going back and forth.  What advice can you give?

This is a clearly a complex situation and, as always, it is essential that you involve any social worker or mental health professional who may be working with the tenant in discussions about how the issue can be managed. 

It is unclear from the question if mental capacity is an issue for the tenant concerned; but if needed, the UK Government guidance for looking after people who lack mental capacity during the current situation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-looking-after-people-who-lack-mental-capacity 

9th April 2020

What's the Council's view on double staff teams sharing cars? We have two double staffed runs with staff that are non-drivers who double up with a driver.

Note: This guidance supersedes our previously published information on this matter.

The Welsh Government's new regulations about social distancing in the workplace place a responsibility on employers to make a risk assessment of any working practices that require staff to work in less that 2m proximity to each other and then "..taking proportionate action where it is practicable to do so. 

The assessment and any subsequent measures taken need to be informed by the principle that "..measures should command staffs' confidence that due consideration to the level of risk they face." Also that: "..employers may wish to introduce mechanisms to receive feedback on the measures that they have introduced". 

The delivery of health and care activities are identified as one of the areas where it may not always be possible to rigidly enforce the '2m rule'. 

Lift sharing is acceptable for double handed care visits, where it is not practicable to do otherwise. The new guidance doesn't prevent lift sharing for double-handed calls (indeed it specifically acknowledges that situations: "Where workers are required to travel together" may be one where 2m social distancing is not possible). 

Staff exhibiting or self-isolating because of COVID-19 symptoms should obviously not be lift sharing. 

The employer needs to undertake a risk assessment about any car sharing arrangements and discuss this (and any subsequent protective measures to be taken) with the staff concerned (and to review any measures with the affected staff in the light of experience). 

The Council cannot proscribe what constitutes reasonable measures a Provider should consider given the wide range of vehicles potentially being used and each situation needing to be considered by the employer on a case by case basis.  

The Government's PPE guidance does not indicate that this is a type of situation where PPE is required to be worn. 

Although not covered in the regulations, we also suggest that the vehicle used (particularly if it's a staff members' private car) needs to be cleaned/disinfected each day after use. 

The regulations can be found at: https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-maintain-physical-distancing-workplace 

6th April 2020

How long does a bedroom in a care home needs to be kept empty following the discharge of a service user with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

If possible, the room should be kept clear for 72 hours, but there is an appreciation that this might not always be possible.

The room should be cleaned with normal detergent and disinfectant with all rubbish being double bagged and left for 72 hours in a holding area before putting it out for collection.

The UK Government guidelines relating to residential care settings and cleaning are available at: 

Any query or case to report or death associated with COVID-19 needs to be raised with Public Health Wales on 0300 003 0032. This includes if residents are confirmed or symptomatic of COVID-19. There are then monitoring processes that will need to be put into place.

Do staff need to go home and isolate if they have contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19?

Healthcare Workers who come into contact with a COVID-19 patient, whether they were wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) or not, can remain at work.

This is because in most instances this will be a short-lived exposure, unlike exposure in a household setting that is ongoing.

However, if a care worker develops a new, continuous cough or a fever they should stay at home in accordance with the official guidance. If they develop these symptoms while at work, they need to self-isolate and immediately inform their line manager.  

Is it possible to take residents for a drive in a vehicle (will remain in vehicle) in order to assist with managing behavioural issues that will occur? 

We recognise that changes in day to day routine may be a significantly challenging for some people, so the need to maintain continuity which may not be consistent with the national directive in terms of restrictions may be difficult.

The provider needs to balance the risk of not undertaking this activity against the wider risk community exposure and satisfy itself that this is an 'essential' journey.

Where this happens, there should be a clearly documented rationale in place and staff should be prepared with supporting documentation in the event of challenge.  

The first letter you sent to Service Providers stated "Wherever possible, before a worker undertakes a home care visit, a phone call should be made to contact the individual in advance to ask if they, or anyone in the household has any of the COVID-19 symptoms."  We do not have capacity to do this each day without resources

We acknowledge that you may lack staff resource to do this before every visit and that it could be an issue.

If you let us know of where this is an issue, we will look into whether redeployed Council staff could do this and/or whether it could be incorporated into the planned arrangements for well-being calls to shielded individuals. 

Is there any update on when (care providers) staff will be tested for COVID 19?

Testing of social care workers began on 1 April 2020 and you should have now received guidance on how to access the tests where appropriate.

Where will the COVID-19 testing stations be?

Staff Members will be contacted directly to arrange test appointments and be advised of the location of their nearest Powys testing station.

Supermarkets placing limits on food means it can be difficult to get food deliveries with the quantities needed for the home. Could Powys County Council notify the supermarkets to let them know which homes are in their area there and who are struggling with the restrictions in place?

We recognise this as a real issue. 

If you are having a problem with a specific supermarket, please contact us and we will either liaise on your behalf or provide you with a letter to share with the supermarket. 

2nd April 2020

We are supporting clients in their own home; large family gatherings are continually happening when the carers are present.  How do we minimize this as much as possible?We are Contacting family but are refusing to self-isolate.  

All Powys residents should be following Welsh Government's guidance on social distancing: 'Staying at home and away from others' - https://gov.wales/staying-home-and-away-others-guidance

Failing to do so in situations such as the one described is placing residents, their loved one and the care staff concerned at increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

Service providers are advised to draw family/carers attention to the Welsh Government's guidance in the first instance.

If this does not resolve matters, you should contact the Powys County Council Social Worker working with the individual or family concerned. They will be able to raise the matter with the individual or family concerned.

Is it possible for care providers to have a Powys badge ID to prove they are care workers in case of being stopped by authorities while on work duties?

Powys County Council suggests that any Service Providers who do not provide their staff with ID consider doing so.

As an interim measure you may wish to provide a letter on your businesses' headed paper stating:

  • that the person bearing it is an employee;
  • their role;
  • is traveling as part of their work duties;
  • contact details for an appropriate person of authority within your business in case the Police wish to confirm the situation

If you adopt this approach, we also suggest that you advise your staff carry some form of photo ID e.g. a photocard driving licence, in order to confirm they are the person referred to in the letter.

It is important that you ensure your staff are aware of the UK Governments guidance: Staying at home and away from others (social distancing).See:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others#going-to-work

Powys County Council is in ongoing discussion with Dyfed-Powys Police regarding key staff travelling on care duties. If your staff are experiencing significant difficulties please let us know by contacting: PCCSSCommissioning@powys.gov.uk

Will a stock of PPE be made available to providers, so they have immediate access to it in the event of having to support someone displaying COVID-19 symptoms?

Powys County Council is currently distributing a stock of PPE packages, provided by Welsh Government, to residential and nursing care homes, containing disposable aprons, gloves, face masks and reusable protective goggles.

Once these homes have been provided with stock, the Council will then be seeking to distribute similar stocks to other care service Providers.

If you do not have a stock of PPE and have an urgent need for supplies to use with an individual who is displaying COVID-19 symptoms please contact us at: PCCSSCommissioning@powys.gov.uk

Besides distributing PPE stocks provided by Welsh Government, Powys County Council is also working to develop other supply chains for PPE from commercial sources. This will help ensure that the Council and its Service Providers will have easy access to PPE equipment.

The recommended PPE ensemble for care workers within a metre of a patient with possible or confirmed COVID-19 is:

  • Fluid repellent facemask
  • Apron
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection if there is a risk of splashing

New PPE must be used for each incident of care with clients with possible or confirmed COVID-19.

Finally, service Providers are reminded that after use disposable PPE items should be double-bagged, and then stored securely for 72 hours before being placed for waste collection.

We are struggling to get medium gloves and Face masks.

All packages of Welsh Government provided PPE stock that are being distributed by Powys County Council to Service Providers include medium gloves and face masks.

27th March 2020

The Manager  asked some District Nurses what will happen and was told that if it gets bad enough, they will not be going into the homes, they will ask us to send residents to the hospitals if we don't have enough staff?  Is this correct?

Powys Teaching Health Board has advised Powys County Council that they are currently developing a clinical response plan for COVID-19.  Actions for Residential Care Homes will be covered in this plan.   

Powys County Council will update Service Providers about arrangements once further information is available.

We want to know what the LHB plans are for us (Residential Care Homes)? 

Powys Teaching Health Board has advised Powys County Council that they are currently developing a clinical response plan for COVID-19.  Actions for Residential Care Homes will be covered in this plan.     

Powys County Council will update Service Providers about arrangements once further information is available.

Care workers are ringing their GP or 111 and saying they have a sore throat and being told to self-isolate. Should care workers only self-isolate if they have a high temperature or new continuous cough? What advice has been given to Powys GP surgeries?

The advice we have received from Powys Teaching Health Board is that staff should self-isolate for 7-days if you have the following symptoms:

  • a high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

and/or

  • a new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

More information is available from the Public Health Wales website at:

https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/stay-at-home-if-you-think-you-have-coronavirus-self-isolation/

I have a staff member who is self-isolating but feels well. Could she be tested and then get back to work? It is very difficult to cover rotas with staff off for 7 or 14 days.

Policy and guidance on coronavirus testing is set by Welsh Government.

Welsh Government has indicated that they have plans in place to increase testing capacity in Wales to offer 1100 tests per day in Wales by the beginning of April and to increase this further during the month. They have indicated that at the moment the priority is ill patients in hospital and frontline NHS workers but "as our capacity ramps up we'd expect that to move into social care and other aspects of public service delivery and into the community."  Domiciliary Care staff are not included in the Welsh Government's testing programme at t present. 

Powys County Council will update Service Providers if there are changes to the defined list of essential workers for COVID-19 testing

26th March 2020

Some of our employees are over 70 and at this moment over 70's are being encouraged to stay at home for 12 weeks.  Will this mean that they won't be able to work here if it becomes compulsory or will they be okay under the circumstances to work if they have no symptoms?
If/when over 70's have to self-isolate, can they still work if they want to and not symptomatic?
If staff in High Risk Category are still willing and able to work; are they allowed? 

Employers must consider the relevant UK Government guidance and should discuss the matter with the employee(s) concerned.

The UK Government guidance on social distancing advises:

"...those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This group includes those who are: aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)"

The UK Government's Guidance to employers COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses states:

"Employees from defined vulnerable groups should be strongly advised and supported to stay at home and work from there if possible"

Care staff are going to school as they are staying open to look after Frontline Staff children. Staff have reported that they are being meet with some resistance and are being told this support is for NHS Staff only.  What is the situation?

From Friday 27 March 2020 Powys County Council will be operating Emergency Childcare Hubs to provide childcare support to support critical emergency workers, NHS staff and social care workers as well as the county's most vulnerable children.

The hubs will operate from 8.00am to 6.00pm, and at weekends. They are based in:

  • Brecon - Priory C. in W. School, Brecon
  • Builth Wells - Newbridge-on-Wye C. in W. School
  • Crickhowell - Crickhowell C.P. School
  • Gwernyfed - Archdeacon Griffiths C. in W. (A) School, Llyswen
  • Llandrindod Wells - Llandrindod Wells C.P. School Cefnllys
  • Llanfair Caereinion - Ysgol Gynradd Llanfair Caereinion
  • Llanfyllin - Ysgol Gynradd Llanfyllin
  • Llanidloes - Llanidloes C.P. School
  • Presteigne - Presteigne C.P. School
  • Machynlleth - Ysgol Bro Hyddgen - Primary Campus, Machynlleth
  • Newtown - Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd, Newtown
  • Welshpool - Welshpool C. in W. Primary School (Howell Road Site)
  • Ystradgynlais - Ysgol Dyffryn y Glowyr, Lower Cwmtwrch

You need to register in order for your child to attend your nearest Emergency Childcare Hub. See more information on our news page, or contact: Covid19.hubs@powys.gov.uk

A care home has people in the community who wish to assist in the home, they do not have DBS', are they allowed into the home to help?

Currently community volunteers assisting in these setting still need a DBS check to undertake any roles which would normally require one.

Powys County Council is aware that changes or relaxations to DBS requirements may be addressed by forthcoming UK Government emergency legislation in response to the COVID-19 situation.

If any temporary changes are made to DBS requirements, we will be sharing guidance on the matter with Service Providers.

Community members seeking to volunteer in support of local health and care services are strongly encouraged to register their interest with Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) who are working with PCC to coordinate emergency volunteers in Powys. See: www.pavo.org.uk/coronavirus.html

What is the advice in relation to PPE when dealing with an individual with a confirmed case? Do full body aprons need to be worn?

The UK Government guidance 'COVID-19: guidance on home care provision' states:

"If the individual being cared for has symptoms of COVID-19

If the individual receiving care and support has symptoms of COVID-19, then the risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures.

Personal protective equipment

  • Care workers should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.
  • Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
  • New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
  • These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin."

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-home-care-provision#

If we have a client who has to self-isolate or decides to be cared for by family for a short period, will we still be paid for this package? i.e we are paid on commissioned care rather than planned then cancelled care.
If this is the case, then how would you like us to invoice for these packages?

Yes, Service Providers will be paid in this kind of situation.

Powys County Council recognises that the COVID-19 situation can cause unforeseen issues with the delivery of planned care for Service Providers. Consequently, the Local Authority has decided that Service Providers will currently be paid for the full content of planned care packages, even if elements are then cancelled.

In making this arrangement the Council anticipates that Service Providers will be flexible in taking on new service users during periods when they may have downtime due to elements of other care packages being temporarily cancelled.

If any further changes are made to arrangements Service Providers will be notified accordingly.

Service Providers should continue to invoice Powys County Council as normal, but add a short explanatory note to the invoice summarising the situation.

 

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