Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for personal assistants (PAs)

This page provides guidance on COVID-19 for personal assistants. Please check this page regularly for the latest updates and also read the COVID-19 updates for providers page.

Page updated: 26 May 2020

Enquiries

If you have any concerns about the clients you support, please contact Adult Social Care.

If you’re a PA with a question about COVID-19 related to your work, please email: ascpersonalisation@eastsussex.gov.uk

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Non-registered services including personal assistants are encouraged to continue to use existing suppliers for PPE.

Emergency supplies

There are three options for accessing emergency personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies:

  • Make a request for East Sussex County Council supplies: complete the PPE proforma and email it to PPErequest@eastsussex.gov.uk.

If ESCC cannot meet your needs then:

  • non-registered services including personal assistants can contact the Mutual aid hub. Email: sussexmutualaid@nhs.net

Please note that local supplies are extremely limited and are reducing fast. They must only be used when all other options have been exhausted.

COVID-19 testing for personal assistants

The NHS is increasing the capacity for COVID-19 testing, including setting up local testing sites. Testing will enable those who are self-isolating to understand their COVID-19 status. This may facilitate an earlier return to work based on a negative COVID-19 test.

Personal assistants will be eligible for testing based on the following criteria:

  • they are self-isolating and mildly symptomatic (symptoms started less than five days ago); or
  • they are self-isolating because a member of their household has developed COVID-19 symptoms in the last 5 days; and
  • they do not have caring responsibilities for the unwell person and could return to work; and
  • they are not a vulnerable member of staff shielding for 12 weeks.

How to book a test

The council will manage the booking process for individuals. Find out more in our leaflet:

If you think you are eligible for testing or have any queries, please contact 01273 482 536 or email Covid19StaffTesting@eastsussex.gov.uk.

Shop bought testing kits

Some manufacturers are selling products for the diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in community settings, such as pharmacies. The current view of Public Health England is that use of these products is not advised.

We can confirm that there are no CE-marked tests for home use, and it is illegal to supply such products.

NHS survey

The NHS has an online survey for you to take if you suspect you have COVID-19. There is guidance as to what action you should take pending the outcome of your survey questions.

The government has produced guidance for members of the public and professionals:

Should I continue providing care?

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are advised to self-isolate at home, you should not visit or care for individuals until it is safe to do so. You should follow the Stay at home guidance.

If the person you are caring for has symptoms

If the individual you are providing care and support for has symptoms of COVID-19 then you should minimise the risk through safe working practices. Follow the government guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.

If you can no longer provide care

If you have to withdraw your service for either of the above reasons and your service is essential to the client, you must ensure suitable contingency plans are put in place.

If contingency plans cannot be implemented and your clients are left without the vital support they need, you must report this immediately to Health and Social Care Connect

Providing home care

When delivering support and care services to people in their own homes, follow the government guidance on working safely in other people’s homes during coronavirus.

Direct payments

The government has published guidance about Coronavirus for people receiving direct payments.

Skills for Care have also produced a useful guide for people and families who employ personal assistants.

Social distancing

You need to ensure that you help your client to follow this guidance on social distancing at all times.

Many people are also being supported by their family, friends and neighbours. Please share this guidance with your client’s family, to help them protect both your client and those who are helping to deliver care.

If the client is self-isolating

If your client is self-isolating because they / anyone else in their household has symptoms, please read this guidance:

Infection control

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, please follow this infection prevention guidance:

  • Guidance on correct hand cleansing techniques when using hand wash and hand sanitiser - hand hygiene.

Training

Due to social distancing, all training courses have been cancelled for the time being.

If you’ve booked onto a training workshop though Adult Social Care then we’ll notify you if the course is cancelled.

If you have not been informed of a cancellation, your booking is still valid. The estimates of how long social distancing measures will be in place change regularly. It is estimated that workshops may resume in July.

If there is any specific training you require urgently, we have e-learning courses and tutored fast-track courses available. Please contact Renee.jasper-griffiths@eastsussex.gov.uk for further information.

Financial support

What is the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

The government scheme to help self-employed individuals whose business has been adversely affected by COVID-19 has now opened for claims. You can check if you are eligible and apply for the scheme on the government website.

If you’re eligible, you can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.

Other help you can get