As you will be aware, Covid-19 (coronavirus) will place significant strain on the health and social care system over the coming weeks and months. We are working closely with colleagues in the CCG to ensure that there is a single communication channel for care providers.
On Friday last week, Helen Charlesworth-May the Strategic Director for Adult Social Care and Health and Jonathan Price, the Joint Director of Service for Adult Commissioning met with a group of care providers, both home care and residential, plus representatives from the voluntary and community sector. The group shared issues, concerns and ideas to explore to help ensure that the care sector in Cornwall can continue to provide support to the people they provide services to during this period of unprecedented challenge.
This is the first of a series of communications with you as more information becomes available and we intend to send a further, more detailed update in the next 24 hours. As you will appreciate this is a fast-moving situation, so please do keep a look out for our communications which will be as responsive as possible to national and local developments.
Cornwall Council have created dedicated communication channels specifically for Care Providers to contact us about COVID 19. You can contact them via the Access Service telephone number – 0300 1234 131 and your query will be redirected to the Commissioning Team during office hours.
You can also contact the Council by email at email@example.com. This email address should be used for COVID 19 queries only and it will be monitored at all times during office hours. Other email addresses have very high volumes which may cause a delay in response.
Some of the key issues and questions that have been raised are covered in the guidance set out below.
In particular we were asked to address the question of availability and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and we have raised an action with our colleagues in Commercial Services to ensure an adequate supply. We are working with colleagues in Public Health on this and we will update you as soon as possible.
In respect of infection control, we are aware that you will want to protect vulnerable residents. Please ensure that any visitors to your care homes wash their hands on the way in and the way out of the home and that the equipment they need to do this is available and allows for effective infection control (soap and water and paper towels or hand dryers).
If a resident is isolated because they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 then please follow the cleaning guidance below.
This suggests that a thorough clean of all contact points is undertaken, rather than a deep clean.
Isolation within a care home for a known/suspected infection can be achieved in the persons’ bedroom in most cases. Residents should remain in their bedroom whilst considered infectious and the door should remain closed (if unable to isolate the individual then this should be documented).
We are aware that some care homes have closed to visitors; we would ask you to think carefully if applying this, for example if one of your residents is end of life that they are supported to see their family through effective infection control procedure (visitors washing their hands and not visiting other areas of the care home).Examples of how services are doing this include:
We encourage you to share other ideas about how this could be done via our contact email above so that we can communicate these ideas to the wider sector.
The availability of workforce and protection of that workforce is obviously a key concern for you. We realise that you are likely to experience increased staff absences during the outbreak due to illness, self-isolation and caring responsibilities, at precisely the time when the challenge presented by the virus will be at its height. One specific issue that arose was the requirements for full DBS checks prior to anyone starting work or being deployed from a different organisation. ADASS guidance clarifies the CQC position that new workers are able to commence on receipt of an AdultsFirst Check while waiting for full DBS. We are exploring options to enable portability of DBS checks. We will also continue to explore a range of options for mobilising an increased workforce.
We have contacted providers to submit their Business Continuity Plans. Our intention is to review these plans collaboratively and offer constructive guidance to identify those aspects that seem robust, and which aspects need further work. We will also share our own plans as soon as possible, including plans put in place across the wider system.
We are currently reviewing the full guidance from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Local Government Association and the Care Provider Alliance (ADASS guidance) and again, will provide updates as soon possible.Links to relevant information for social care
Set out below are links to the current guidance from a range of sources, these are also referenced through the ADASS guidanceCOVID 19 Guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings
For now, advice from Public Health England is that we need to keep things running as normally as possible. We are very grateful for your continued support and willingness to work together and will do everything possible to support you as the situation continues to unfold.Helen Charlesworth-May, Strategic Director Adult Social Care and Health