Guidance

Overview of adult social care guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information for adult social care providers on COVID-19 guidance and support.

This document provides information for adult social care providers about COVID-19 guidance and support. See the full list of adult social care guidance produced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE).

This page will be updated to reflect new DHSC, NHS and PHE advice.

The guidance relates to England unless stated otherwise.

Help with infection prevention and control

Guidance for social care providers on how to prevent, control and protect care workers and those they care for from COVID-19 infection.

Infection control

Links to appropriate PPE resources:

See Securing PPE and related supplies below for information on how to access PPE.

Supporting staff members at higher risk from COVID-19

The adult social care risk reduction framework focuses specifically on how employers can support workers with factors that may make them more vulnerable to infection or adverse outcomes from COVID-19 to make decisions about their risks in the workplace. This should be used alongside relevant guidance, including PHE guidance on how to work safely in care homes, how to work safely in domiciliary care and DHSC guidance on health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce.

Reducing contact between staff

To help reduce possible transmission among staff and residents consider:

  • limiting or ‘cohorting’ staff to groups of patients or floors/wings (segregation of COVID-positive and COVID-negative patients)
  • holding team meetings and handovers remotely
  • staggering times of entry to collect equipment, including PPE
  • access to regular remote supervision for teams and individuals
  • remote, secure sharing of information relating to care between agencies (see NHSmail)

See guidance on reducing workforce movement between care homes and minimising risk for care workers for more advice.

Running a medicines re-use scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued good practice for managing medicines in care homes. A new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been designed to help providers manage medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find updated information in the new SOP.

Testing social care workers and people in care homes

See our guidance on how to get social care workers and people in care homes tested, below.

Financial support for infection control and prevention measures

On 15 May the government published details of an additional £600 million Infection Control Fund for adult social care. This funding is to support adult social care providers in England reduce the rate of transmission in and between care settings and to support workforce resilience. Following the success of the initial fund, its extension was announced in September alongside the adult social care winter plan, with an additional £546 million for the care sector to implement infection prevention and control measures. The funding can also be used to support the wider adult social care sector, which includes home care. Adult social care providers should contact the local authority who administer the Infection Control Fund in the first instance if they want to access the fund.

What to do when you suspect an outbreak

Symptoms of COVID-19

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Any resident presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 should be promptly isolated (if not already) and tested. Care homes should be implementing social distancing measures and supporting individuals to follow the shielding guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

Guidance on caring for residents, depending on their COVID-19 status and particular needs has also been developed.

What is an outbreak?

An outbreak is defined as 2 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 or clinically suspected cases of COVID-19 among individuals associated with a specific setting, such as care homes, with onset dates within 14 days.

In line with the new definition, one confirmed case will be reported as an incident. If there’s a single laboratory confirmed case, this would initiate further investigation and risk assessment.

What care homes and other social care settings must do during an outbreak

  1. Care home managers should contact their local health protection team (HPT) if they suspect an outbreak. (See Reporting an outbreak below). HPTs will arrange the first tests for all residents and staff. Care homes should seek advice from their local HPT if they have a single possible case of COVID-19.
  2. Staff should immediately instigate full infection control measures. See guidance on how to work safely in care homes. Advice is also provided on admission and care of residents in a care home.
  3. If the care home has a current outbreak and the steps for a new outbreak have been completed, they can continue regular weekly testing for staff. However, asymptomatic testing of residents is not needed unless recommended otherwise by the HPT or the Director of Public Health following a local risk assessment. If a resident develops symptoms in this time, the care home should contact the HPT to access rapid testing. Residents who have been exposed to a person with possible or confirmed COVID-19 should be isolated (or cohorted if not possible) with other similarly exposed residents until 14 days after last exposure.
  4. Care home managers must postpone routine non-essential medical and other appointments, where possible, and discuss with the healthcare providers whether these could be delivered remotely.
  5. During an outbreak, restrictions to visiting set out in the visiting guidance should be followed.
  6. All staff and residents should be retested again 28 days after the last resident or staff had a positive test result or showed coronavirus-like symptoms. If no further cases are identified at this point, the outbreak is considered to have ended. Any further cases after this point is a new outbreak and the care home must contact the HPT. Staff or residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not be included in testing (as part of regular testing or the whole home test at 28 days after the last identified case) until 90 days after either their initial onset of symptoms or their positive test result (if they were asymptomatic when tested). If they develop new symptoms, they should be retested immediately.

Advice on what you can and can’t do in an outbreak is a helpful guide for care providers. All staff and residents should be retested again 28 days after the last resident or staff had a positive test result or showed coronavirus-like symptoms. If no further cases are identified at this point, the outbreak is considered to have ended. Any further cases after this point is a new outbreak and the care home must contact the HPT.

There is also advice specific to domiciliary care and supported living settings.

Reporting an outbreak

  1. Care homes should record clinically suspected or confirmed cases in staff or residents daily onto the Capacity Tracker (including nil returns). This is important in notifying HPTs of a potential outbreak and notifying of recovery from an outbreak.
  2. Report any outbreak to the local HPT, they will provide advice and support to manage the outbreak. Once an outbreak is confirmed, the HPT will arrange testing for all residents and staff. The HPT will also arrange a follow up test after 4 to 7 days for residents and staff who tested negative on the first round of testing or who missed the initial test.
  3. If a new case is identified, follow HPT advice and undertake a risk assessment to see if all communal activities should be stopped.
  4. The HPT may advise that restrictions be implemented for 28 days.
  5. The outbreak can be declared over once no new cases have occurred in the 28 days since the onset of symptoms in the most recent case.

How to manage staff during an outbreak

The PPE hub contains guidance on how to work safely in care homes and how to work safely in domiciliary care. PHE has also developed a chart of recommended PPE in different healthcare settings.

Staff who have COVID-19 symptoms should:

See further guidance on restricting workforce movement and minimising workforce transmission.

Advice on when symptomatic staff can return to work

A flowchart advising when symptomatic staff can return to work has been developed by PHE.

Symptomatic staff can return to work no earlier than 10 days from symptom onset, provided clinical improvement has occurred and they have been afebrile (not feverish) without medication for 48 hours and they’re medically fit to return.

If a cough or a loss of or a change in normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia) is the only persistent symptom after 10 days, and they have been afebrile for 48 hours without medication, they can return to work on day 11 (post-viral cough known to persist for several weeks in some cases) if they are medically fit to return.

If needed, work risk assessments for staff returning to work during an outbreak can be accessed from your local HPT or from your infection prevention and control (IPC) lead via your local CCG.

See more information on going to work and being COVID-19 secure during an outbreak.

Support if you are struggling to manage during an outbreak

All care providers should contact their local authority and local health services for support during an outbreak. This is true whether the care provider has a contract with the local authority or not.

If local authorities are unable to meet the emergency needs of a care provider they should report to their Strategic Co-ordination Group or Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) for additional support. For more support on how to manage during an outbreak see the action plan for adult social care and the care home support package.

Caring for patients discharged from hospital or another social care facility

Guidance for social care providers caring for patients discharged from hospital or other social care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safely discharging people from the NHS to social care settings

Any person who does not need an NHS hospital bed will continue to be discharged in line with the current discharge service requirements. To ensure the safety of residents and staff, all individuals being discharged to care homes should be tested prior to discharge.

See advice on how to safely admit residents being discharged from hospitals to care homes. There is also further advice on discharge into domiciliary care and supported living settings.

Escalating inadequate discharge summaries

Where home care agencies identify inadequacies in discharge summaries, these need to be escalated to the local co-ordinator. Contact your local authority for clarity around who this person is if required.

Caring for individuals coming from the community

Annex K in the ‘Admission and care of people in care homes’ guidance sets out a service model for testing people moving from the community into a care home. It is intended to supplement existing local arrangements. The care home should isolate new residents coming from the community for a 14-day period following admission.

Help to quarantine and isolate patients

Local authorities should ensure that sufficient alternative accommodation is available to quarantine and isolate residents, if needed, before returning to their care home from hospital, as set out in the adult social care action plan.

Visits to care homes and other care settings

See guidance for providers on arrangements for visitors in care homes. This includes advice on establishing visiting policies, infection-control precautions and communicating decisions to families and other visitors.

If the person is clinically extremely vulnerable, then the currently applicable shielding guidance should be followed.

We have published separate guidance for supported living and home care settings, which include visiting information.

Information for providers of care in supported living and domiciliary settings

Guidance for providers of care in supported living settings

We have published comprehensive supported living guidance on a wide range of COVID-19 related topics for supported living settings, including safe systems of working, social distancing, respiratory and hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning and how infection prevention and control (IPC) and personal protective equipment (PPE) applies to supported living settings.

Although it is primarily intended for the managers, care and support workers, and other staff in supported living settings, it is also relevant to local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, primary care networks and community health services.

Local managers should use the guidance to develop their own specific ways of working to protect people’s wellbeing and minimise risks.

Guidance for providers of care in domiciliary settings

We have published comprehensive guidance that brings together all guidance for home care settings.

It 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.

This includes the most recent guidance from Public Health England on the use of PPE, supporting clinically extremely vulnerable people receiving home care during COVID-19, reducing transmission risks and contact, and safely discharging from hospitals to home care.

Advice for local authorities and the NHS to support home care provision

Steps for local authorities and the NHS to support the provision of home care during COVID-19 is set out in the provision of home care guidance. The use of voluntary groups to support home care provision and linking home care providers with the voluntary sector should be considered.

See a resource maintained by the Housing Learning and Improvement Network on access to wellbeing support for people in extra care and retirement housing.

How to get social care workers and people in care homes tested

Guidance for social care providers on how to get workers and people in care homes tested for COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Any resident presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 should be promptly isolated (if not already) and tested. See our guidance on caring for residents, depending on their COVID-19 status and particular needs for more details.

Care homes should be implementing social distancing measures and supporting individuals to follow the shielding guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

Who can get tested in care homes?

In England, all registered adult care homes can apply for coronavirus tests. You should contact your local HPT:

  • as soon as you suspect your care home has a new coronavirus case
  • it has been 28 days or longer since your last case and you have new cases

Your HPT will provide advice and arrange the testing for all residents and staff. You can continue weekly testing for staff if in a current outbreak, but it is not recommended to continue asymptomatic testing of residents, unless otherwise suggested by the HPT or Director of Public Health following a local risk assessment. You can find further information in the tests available for adult social care in England resource. For more general information see our guidance on testing for COVID-19.

How to apply for test kits in care homes not in an outbreak

Care homes that do not have a suspected or current outbreak can continue regular testing and follow the whole home retesting cycle. Care home managers can apply for testing kits to test residents and staff via the testing portal.

Before applying you’ll need:

  • the care home’s ID
  • total number of residents, including number of residents with coronavirus symptoms
  • total number of staff, including agency staff

  • your contact details
  • in England, your Care Quality Commission (CQC) location ID (typically in the format '1-xxxxxx')
  • in Wales, your Service Unique Reference Number (typically in the format ‘SIN-xxxxx-abcd’)
  • in Northern Ireland, your Regulation & Quality Improvement number (typically a minimum of 4 digits)
  • in Scotland, your Care Inspectorate number (typically in the format ‘CSxxxxxxxxxx’)

Repeat testing

From Monday 6 July we began weekly testing of staff and testing of residents every 28 days in care homes without outbreaks. To access retesting, care homes will need to register on the portal for retesting. Initially repeat testing is available for care homes for over-65s and those with dementia, expanding to mixed and specialist care homes shortly.

Staff or residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not be included in testing (as part of regular testing or the whole home test at 28 days after the last identified case) until 90 days after either:

  • their initial onset of symptoms
  • their positive test result (if they were asymptomatic when tested)

If they develop new symptoms, they should be retested immediately.

See further information in routes for testing in adult social care.

Managing care workers during COVID-19

Managing workers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

See our section what to do when you suspect an outbreak, above.

Redeploying workers and using volunteers to maintain staffing levels

We have published guidance and practical advice on how adult social care employers can safely redeploy workers and involve volunteers where necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic and possible further outbreaks, to help meet service delivery. This guidance covers:

  • alternatives to redeployment
  • redeploying workers
  • involving volunteers
  • infection control and prevention
  • personal protective equipment
  • testing

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme is a group of volunteers who can carry out non-clinical tasks to support people who are self-isolating or vulnerable. Social care staff can refer people into the programme for support.

Recruiting and training new workers

We have launched a new online platform, Join Social Care, to fast-track recruitment into the adult social care sector. The online platform allows candidates to access free training via Skills for Care (SfC) and the opportunity to be considered for multiple job opportunities. This will streamline the recruitment process for candidates and employers and will sit alongside the many local initiatives that have been put in place to recruit staff.

We commissioned SfC to rapidly scale up capacity for digital induction training, provided free of charge under DHSC’s Workforce Development Fund. This training is available for redeployees, new starters, existing staff and volunteers through 12 of Skills for Care’s endorsed training providers. This is free of charge for employers when accessed directly from SfC’s endorsed providers. Training can be accessed via the Skills for Care website.

Restricting workforce movement to minimise transmission

Given the evidence of the prevalence of asymptomatic transmission, it is strongly recommended that care homes do all they can to restrict staff movement wherever feasible. This includes ensuring that staff work in only one care home wherever possible. A full checklist of actions that care homes should consider taking to restrict staff movement is available in the care home support package.

In home care, contact between workers should also be reduced where possible. Further guidance for home care settings is available in the provision of home care guidance.

Further advice

Further advice can be found on the Skills for Care website.

Securing PPE and related supplies

Guidance on how to use PPE

To support the social care sector in using PPE, PHE have published tailored resources on how to work safely in care homes and how to work safely in domiciliary care. These include summarised tables, a Q&A and a specialised training video on putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) PPE in social care settings.

PHE has also published an illustrated PPE guide for community and social care settings. This translates the existing PPE guidance into a simple, visual format that is applicable to all settings.

These are the main sources of PPE guidance for the social care sector.

How to order PPE

In the adult social care winter plan, published 18 September 2020, the government committed to providing the adult social care sector with free PPE for COVID-19 needs until March 2021. This has now been extended until the end of March 2022.

Adult social care providers are able to access their free PPE provision through the PPE portal if CQC-registered, or via their local authority (LA) or local resilience forum (LRF) if not CQC-registered.

Where there is an emergency need, all adult social care providers can access the emergency PPE stockpile held by LRFs. Where this need is urgent and PPE is required within 72 hours, providers can access PPE through the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR).

Adult social care providers should continue to order their business-as-usual PPE requirements through their usual channels.

PPE portal

The online PPE portal serves all CQC-registered residential care homes and domiciliary care providers. Providers will have received an email at their CQC-registered email address inviting them to register on the PPE portal.

Any provider who has not received an email invite but believes they should have can contact the customer service team on 0800 876 86802. The team is available between 7am and 7pm, 7 days a week.

Providers can place orders through the PPE portal once every 7 days and the amount that can be ordered will depend upon the size of the provider. See the categories of provider and the volume of PPE each can order.

Local resilience forums and local authorities

Adult social care providers who are not CQC-registered and therefore not covered by the PPE portal should contact their local resilience forum where it is continuing to distribute PPE, or local authority if the LRF has stood down regular distribution, to obtain their free PPE provision for COVID-19 needs.

Providers who are not on the PPE portal should contact their local authority for more information.

National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) System

You can call the NSDR helpline if you can show an immediate urgent need for PPE. The NSDR does not have access to the full lines of stock held at other large wholesalers or distributers but can mobilise small priority orders of critical PPE to fulfil an emergency need. The helpline is available 24/7 at 0800 915 9964.

Help for holders of direct payments, commissioners and care providers

Using your direct payment during the pandemic

The guidance for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support includes information on:

  • continued use of direct payments during COVID-19, including maximising flexibility of use
  • the communication you can expect from local authorities and CCGs to ensure you stay safe during this time
  • covering extra expenses during COVID-19
  • using direct payment for activities at home
  • carer and PA support if you are admitted to hospital
  • developing a contingency plan
  • payment of family carers or close friends if a PA is not available

For a breakdown of the most important points, see a quick read guide on using direct payments during COVID-19. An easy read version of this guidance is also available. This guidance will be updated shortly.

Advice for people who employ personal assistants (PAs)

See the relevant steps to be taken by people who employ PAs via direct payments. It outlines how employers of PAs should:

  • review support arrangements currently in place with the agency or PA to make sure individuals receive the care and support they need during this time
  • consider alternative options should the current plans not be robust during COVID-19
  • ensure that PAs have access to PPE. Where there are difficulties in getting this locally, even if it’s in somebody’s personalised care and support plan, local authorities and CCGs must help individuals to source PPE, including if the PA is self-employed
  • record how individuals prefer their care and support to be delivered, in the case where a PA is unable to support individuals due to self-isolation or contraction of COVID-19

More advice on safely delivering personal care during COVID-19 can be found in the current domiciliary care PPE guidance. If the current arrangements are not adequate due to the wider impact of COVID-19 and there is no alternative, employers should contact the adult social care team or CCG team that provides the direct payment to discuss alternative care arrangements.

Advice for local authorities and CCGs to support people who use direct payments

See step-by-step guidance for local authorities and CCGs to help people who use direct payments to purchase care and support. This will be updated shortly.

Advice for local authorities and NHS to support home care provision

Steps for local authorises and the NHS to support the provision of home care during COVID-19 is set out in the provision of home care guidance. The use of voluntary groups to support home care provision and linking home care providers with the voluntary sector should be considered.

Supplier relief during COVID-19

Information and guidance is available for public bodies regarding the payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the current COVID-19 pandemic.

See Procurement Policy Note 02/20: supplier relief due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Information for social care providers on mental health and wellbeing and financial support

Support for social care workers relating to mental health

The Every Mind Matters website provides advice and practical tips to help workers look after their mental health and wellbeing. The list of NHS recommended helplines can also offer support and expert advice if workers are struggling.

Shout have developed a free text-based support system for social care staff struggling to cope. Staff can send a message with ‘FRONTLINE’ to 85258 to start a conversation.

Samaritans and Hospice UK also provide a dedicated free-to-call support helpline for social care staff. Staff can call The Samaritans on 0800 069 6222 for non-judgmental listening and support from trained volunteers. The helpline is open from 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week and calls are confidential. Staff can also call the Hospice UK bereavement and trauma support line on 0300 303 4434 (8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday).

Resources and training for registered managers

Skills for Care has created a package of support for registered managers, including a support line.

A CARE-branded website and app containing guidance and practical support for the social care workforce has also been developed and includes free access to wellbeing resources and apps, such as Sleepio, Silvercloud and Daylight.

Wellbeing and bereavement support for social care workers

Guidance on health and wellbeing, including bereavement and financial support, as well as general sources of support and advice for good mental health and wellbeing during the outbreak, is available to all social care staff.

Workers may find it helpful to contact their local carers support organisation through the Carers UK website and their online forum.

Charities such as the Care Workers’ Charity offer information and tools related to physical and emotional wellbeing as well as advice on money management and financial issues.

Losing someone close to you, whether it’s a family member, colleague or care user, can be devastating. We have gathered together some bereavement resources for the social care workforce, which we hope may help during this very difficult time.

Advice for employers and those who are self-employed

The guidance on supporting the health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce provides advice for employers and the self-employed, including support for registered managers and those who work alone. This includes advice on supporting staff wellbeing and building resilience, managing stress and anxiety, and bereavement support.

Taking time off to care for a relative who has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating

Workers should talk to their employer(s) about their caring needs and what arrangements can be put in place. Information regarding statutory sick pay entitlements can be found in the guidance for employees. Some people may be entitled to benefits as a carer, such as Carer's Allowance.

Financial support for employers of social care workers

The guidance on supporting the health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce provides advice regarding financial support for social care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information on financial support for employers can be found in the section on help for holders of direct payments, commissioners and care providers, above.

Information for providers of care for adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults

Guidance is available for care workers and personal assistants who support adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults. There is also guidance on providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults.

In addition to this, DHSC has worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to produce a dedicated portal with a range of guidance for care providers for adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults.

Capacity Tracker and guidance on using it

The web-based Capacity Tracker – built in partnership with DHSC, NHS England, local authority representatives and care home providers – enables care homes to share their available capacity in real time and allows users to search for care home availability across England. The system helps the user identify suitable care homes, helping the individual to make the right choice for them and ensuring that they don't stay in hospital any longer than is necessary.

The Capacity Tracker has been of great value to a number of organisations and government departments in helping to monitor and inform the response of the system and providers to the pandemic, and providing near real-time data on residents and staff in care homes.

It has given invaluable support to the multi-agency response to care homes throughout the pandemic by providing a single source of information about COVID status, admission status, PPE status and workforce status in care homes. It is also being used to dynamically track Infection Prevention Control standards in care homes and enabling targeted support by local councils.

The Capacity Tracker is managed on behalf of DHSC and NHS England by the North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS). NECS maintain a library of materials for those who use the Capacity Tracker, which are available to download from the Capacity Tracker website (you must be signed into your account to access these).

Information for unpaid carers

GOV.UK guidance for unpaid carers provides information, support and signposting to other relevant guidance for people who are caring, unpaid, for friends or family during the coronavirus outbreak.

There is also guidance and easy read information for young people under the age of 25 who are providing care for someone during the coronavirus outbreak. You can also find guidance for people who are providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults during the coronavirus outbreak.

Easements of the Care Act

New guidance created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities, sets out how local authorities can use the new Care Act easements to ensure the best possible care for people during this exceptional period.

This includes information on:

  • what duties are replaced by powers under the easements
  • protections and safeguards
  • principles to govern the use of these powers in social care
  • steps to take before exercising the Care Act easements

COVID-19 ethical framework for adult social care

The ethical framework for adult social care is aimed at planners and strategic policy makers at local, regional and national level to support response planning and organisation of adult social care during COVID-19.

The ethical values and principles outlined in this framework should be followed to guide decision-making at all stages, particularly when:

  • making decisions on care provision
  • making challenging decisions on how to redirect resources where they are most needed
  • prioritising individual care needs
  • either considering to operate or operating under Care Act easements

The framework must be followed alongside appropriate COVID-19 guidance and relevant equalities-related and human rights frameworks, while meeting statutory duties and professional responsibilities.

Caring for people who are protected by safeguards under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, including the deprivation of liberty safeguards

During the pandemic, the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) still apply in England and Wales. The MCA provides protection for people who lack or may lack the relevant mental capacity to make decisions about different aspects of their life.

The DoLS are an important part of this act and provide further safeguards for those who need to be deprived of their liberty in order to receive care or treatment in a care home or hospital, but do not have the capacity to consent to those arrangements.

The government has issued guidance about how to care for people who may lack the relevant mental capacity needed to make decisions about arrangements for their own care and treatment, in care homes, in England (see section 2F). This includes information about capacity assessments and testing for COVID-19.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has produced advice about how social care providers should implement their MCA duties and powers during the pandemic. This covers the principles of the MCA, DoLS and applications to the Court of Protection. SCIE has also published advice about how to consider ‘best interest decisions’ during the pandemic.

The government has published detailed guidance about DoLS during the pandemic, The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Like DoLS, this guidance applies to deprivations of liberty in care homes and hospitals, in England and Wales. This guidance covers best interests decisions, life-saving treatment and depriving a person of their liberty. There is additional guidance with more detail on testing for COVID-19, advance planning and self-isolation.

The government’s guidance on visiting care homes in England during the pandemic includes information about residents who may lack the relevant capacity to decide whether or not to consent to a provider’s visiting policy.

In the sad event of the death of a worker in adult social care from COVID-19, there are several actions that employers may need to take. There is step-by-step guidance and information on actions employers may need to take, including resources about bereavement.

Published 25 August 2020
Last updated 1 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect that free COVID-19 PPE provision for the ASC sector has been extended to March 2022.

  2. Under 'What care homes and other social care settings must do during an outbreak' and 'Repeat testing', updated the length of time that staff or residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not be included in testing – to 90 days after either their initial onset of symptoms or their positive test result (if they were asymptomatic when tested).

  3. Updated to reflect the extension of the Infection Control Fund.

  4. Updated 'Securing PPE and related supplies' with information on how to order PPE.

  5. Reference to acute PPE shortage guidance removed as it is no longer relevant.

  6. Updated guidance links in the section 'Supporting staff members at higher risk from COVID-19', removed section on when to furlough workers and edited section on 'Managing workers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19'.

  7. First published.