Care homes COVID-19 guidance
Monthly care home huddles
Run by the local NHS and the council, these huddles offer care home managers an opportunity to receive updates on COVID-19 from a clinical lead and to ask questions.
The huddles run on the last Weds of the month at 11am.
If you would like to attend a huddle, submit questions or access previous recordings, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Care homes should update the capacity tracker regularly (preferably daily) with the following information:
- Vaccination uptake: It's important to regularly update the tracker with details of first and second doses for care home residents and staff. All staff should tell their manager when they have had the vaccine (whether first or second dose), particularly if they were vaccinated outside of the care home setting.
- Business continuity and vacancy questions: Complete both these sections at least once a week and preferably daily.
Help to use the Capacity Tracker
The Capacity Tracker has a ‘Help’ section with a short video and guidance that will answer most questions. For any other questions, phone the national help centre on 0191 691 3729 or email email@example.com.
Admission and care of residents in a care home
This guidance sets out how to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
Staff movement between settings
Restrictions on staff movement between settings have been removed, but care homes may be asked to limit staff movement by the Director of Public Health or health protection team (HPT) if, for example, there is high prevalence of COVID-19 locally or in an outbreak.
Visits in and out of care homes
The government expects and encourages care homes to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way.
Reuse of medicines
The government has published a standard operating procedure (SOP) on how to run a safe and effective medicines reuse scheme in a care home.
Faster medication orders for care homes
Care homes can order repeat prescriptions online for their residents via proxy access to the resident's GP online services account. For a guide to the process, visit: Ordering medication using proxy access - NHS.
Reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 in a care home
If your care home has a COVID-19 outbreak, you need to follow the advice on reporting new outbreaks.
For information on PPE for care homes, see: Care homes - PPE guidance
To find out how to book your vaccination or booster, see Vaccinations for health and social care staff.
Mandatory vaccination for care home staff
Regulations revoking COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of deployment in Care Quality Commission registered care homes came into force on 15 March 2022.
People working or volunteering in care homes are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the premises.
The legal requirement for health and social care staff to be double jabbed from 1 April 2022 was also removed.
The minority of health and care workers who remain unvaccinated are reminded of their professional responsibility to be vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Include vaccination status when transferring residents
Care homes should include vaccination status on transfer documents when transferring residents to NHS settings.
COVID testing – care homes gives information on testing staff and residents.
Urgent clinical support through Starline
All CQC-registered care homes can sign up to access Starline for urgent medical advice. It gives fast access to a range of clinical care professionals by calling via NHS 111 and dialling *6.
Visit Sussex Health and Care to find out more.
Enhanced Health in Care Homes
Enhanced Health in Care Homes (EHCH) is an NHS initiative which aims to strengthen support for the people who live and work in care homes.
It is expected to bring many benefits including:
- fast and easy access to healthcare professionals including access to a named primary care lead, care home matron (or equivalent) and pharmacist providing Structured Medication Reviews
- clinical assessment within seven days of admission or re-admission to a care home
- access to wider community services and specialist services through multi-disciplinary teams
There was a presentation about EHCH at the East Sussex care home huddle on 3 June 2021. If you missed it, you can view the slides.
Enhanced Health in Care Homes: A guide for care homes gives more information on the programme.
If you have any questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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