What's New Bulletin 75 - 6 January 2022

This is the seventy fifth weekly provider bulletin, containing information on guidance, procedures and new initiatives. Very urgent or high priority communications may still be issued on an ad hoc basis, but we will try to keep these to a minimum.

COVID RELATED INFORMATION

  1. REMINDER Importance of getting booster jabs and support available (information for all providers)
  2. Care Homes - key Covid-19 guidance summarised (information for all Care Homes)
  3. Home Support and Supported Living - key Covid-19 guidance summarised (information for all home support and supported living providers)
  4. UPDATED GUIDANCE Visiting arrangements in care homes (information for all care homes)
  5. REMINDER Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund round 2 (information for all Birmingham providers)
  6. PRESS RELEASE Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results (information for all providers)
  7. UPDATED GUIDANCE Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service for extra care and supported living settings (information for all supported living and extra care sheltered housing providers)
  8. REMINDER Reporting COVID-19 suspected and confirmed deaths to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (information for all providers)
  9. Business continuity planning for staff shortages (information for all Birmingham providers)

IN OTHER NEWS

  1. Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (BSol CCG) education session for care home staff (information for all Birmingham and Solihull care homes)
  2. Level 2 Cold Weather Alert - Extended to 10 January 2022 (information for providers operating in the West Midlands)

COVID RELATED INFORMATION

1. REMINDER Importance of getting booster jabs and support available (information for all providers)

A letter has been sent to the local social care workforce from Professor Graeme Betts, Corporate Director of Adult Social Care, Birmingham City Council. In addition to thanking employees for their work to support the health and social care system, it emphasises the importance of and encourages everyone to take up their COVID vaccinations. If you don't have a copy of the letter, please email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk

Also circulated to providers is a letter from the DHSC to all Local Authorities and adult social care providers regarding the support available to help staff “Get Boosted”. If you don't have a copy of this letter, please email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk Please remember the Infection Control and Testing fund can be used to support the following measures;

  • ensuring that staff who need to attend work or another location for the purposes of being vaccinated for COVID-19 or flu are paid their usual wages to do so
  • any costs associated with reaching a vaccination facility
  • any reasonable administrative costs associated with organising COVID-19 or flu vaccinations where these were not being supported by other government funding streams

Social Care workers and family carers (family members and friends who care for someone with a disability or long-term health problem) can request priority access to COVID-19 booster vaccinations, following NHS England operational guidance issued to all vaccination centres on the 14 December regarding the delivery of boosters. In order to get priority access at a vaccination centre, sites will likely ask to see a workplace photo ID, or a recent letter or payslip from their employer as proof of their employment.

For some social care workers and unpaid carers having an ID is not possible, and they therefore may feel discouraged from requesting this priority service. A letter has been circulated to providers from Dept Health and Social Care provides an alternative for social care workers and carers without identification documents, to help them access the priority booster vaccination programme. If you don't have a copy of this letter, please email marketintelligence@birmingham.gov.uk

Information on vaccination walk-in centres can be found below:

Walk-ins – Birmingham & Solihull NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service

Vaccines can be booked online below (staff can book 2 months after their 2nd dose for an appointment to receive their booster vaccination once 3 months has passed);

Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS

Two Q&A leaflets have been issued, focusing on COVID-19 booster and flu vaccinations this winter. You can download all care staff winter vaccine materials below, including posters, social media graphics and stickers. A new winter vaccines communications toolkit is also available, featuring case studies, expert blogs and a range of materials to promote flu and COVID-19 boosters.

2. Care Homes - key Covid-19 guidance summarised (information for all Care Homes)

Please find below links to the current care home and infection prevention control guidance for you to refer to. This guidance is updated as necessary and we recommend checking it regularly.

Admission and care of residents in a care home during COVID-19

COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC)

COVID-19: how to work safely in care homes

The reinforcement of rigorous infection control and prevention measures is essential,  including use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and which includes the safe donning and doffing of PPE. Please check:

1) staff are following guidance

2) whether staff need further training

3) to share good practice

4) for any gaps in IPC implementation, which need more support.

TESTING

Please contact 119 if you have any concerns or questions relating to testing including PCR collection via couriers and acquiring LFD testing kits.

Link to testing information for care homes:

COVID-19 testing in adult care homes

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing available for adult social care in England

MANAGEMENT OF CASES AND CONTACTS IN STAFF AND RESIDENTS

Residents and staff who are symptomatic or who are reported as positive on lateral flow (LFD) or PCR should be managed according to the following guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-admission-and-care-of-people-in-care-homes/coronavirus-covid-19-admission-and-care-of-people-in-care-homes

Admission and care of residents in a care home during COVID-19

Please refer to the specific sections below:

Management of positive and symptomatic resident(s): Section 5.2

Management of resident(s) exposed to positive case(s): Section 5.3

Management of positive/symptomatic staff and staff exposed to positive case(s): Section 7.2

Further, if a member of staff is tested positive and there has been a breach of PPE when supporting a client, the client or their family should be informed, as they will have been a contact of a positive case and should follow national guidance:

For residents: as per section 5.3 of the admission and care guidance above.

For family contacts, see the guidance below:

Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19 infection who do not live with the person

VISITING

Guidance is available for care homes on how to support families and visitors to visit residents. The guidance can be found below:

Guidance on care home visiting

VACCINATION

Anyone who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill or have long-term effects (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others. More information can be found at:

COVID-19 vaccines

OUTBREAKS

Section 5 of the 'Admission and care of residents in a care home during COVID-19' provides guidance for homes to follow in case of an outbreak.

The Local Authority Public Health Team/Outbreak Hub should usually be the first point of contact for support in case of a suspected outbreak, but UKHSA Health Protection Team can also be contacted for advice on WM.2019Cov@phe.gov.uk/0344 225 3560  Op 0, Op 2     

If the outbreak appears to be escalating despite of the control measures applied, or there have been serious illness, hospitalisations, or deaths the home should contact UKHSA Health Protection Team tel. 0344 225 3560  Op 0, Op 2.

Duration of outbreak restrictions

End of outbreak can be declared the minimum of 14 days after onset of symptoms in the most recent case/test date, and once whole home recovery testing of all residents and staff has taken place showing no new cases.

This may need further discussion with the LA/UKHSA team

Local Risk assessment

Admissions may be allowed during the outbreak period based on a local risk assessment carried out jointly by the home and Local Public Health Team/UKHSA Health Protection Team

3. Home Support and Supported Living - key Covid-19 guidance summarised (information for all home support and supported living providers)

This information is to support domiciliary care providers manage Covid-19 cases effectively. The Omicron variant has spread throughout the UK and can now be managed within the standard Covid-19 guidelines.

Please refer to the guidance detailed below:

MANAGEMENT OF STAFF AND EXPOSED PATIENTS OR RESIDENTS IN HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE SETTINGS

COVID-19: management of staff and exposed citizens in social care settings

Further guidance for domiciliary care can be found here, this guidance is updated as necessary and we recommend checking it regularly.

COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care

Working safely during COVID-19

CASES & CONTACTS WILL NEED TO FOLLOW THE FOLLOWING GUIDANCE

COVID-19: stay at home guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection

CONTACT DEFINITION – A CONTACT COULD BE ANOTHER MEMBER OF STAFF OR A CLIENT

This means:

Face to face contact with a case for any length of time, within 1m, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, unprotected physical contact (skin to skin) or travel in a small vehicle with a case. This includes exposure within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer and extended close contact (between 1 and 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with a case.

INFECTION PREVENTION & CONTROL (IPC)

COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC)

There are two particular scenarios in domiciliary care where staff members may be classed as contacts:

  • A staff member who has been caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and there have been breaches in the appropriate PPE
  • A staff member has been in contact with anybody who has tested positive for COVID-19 without appropriate PPE. This may be at work or in the community.

It is therefore very important that all staff are wearing PPE appropriately, including appropriate training and applying the correct measures for donning (putting it on) and doffing (taking it off) and safe disposal.

Further, if a member of staff is tested positive and there has been a breach of PPE when supporting a client, the client or their family should be informed, as they will have been a contact of a positive case.

TESTING

Testing information for domiciliary care is below:

COVID-19 testing for homecare workers

VACCINATION

Anyone who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill or have long-term effects (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others. More information can be found below:

COVID-19 vaccines

UKHSA are NOT required to be updated for every additional case within your setting. However, if you feel the situation is escalating (e.g. serious illness, deaths, media interest), and despite implementing measures as detailed within the guidance, the situation is becoming unmanageable, then please contact UKHSA on the 0344 225 3560 op0 op2.

4. UPDATED GUIDANCE Visiting arrangements in care homes (information for all care homes)

This guidance sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents. It has been updated to reflect resident LFD testing following visits out of the care home are required every second day for 10 days, and to add that nominated visitors should remain the same wherever possible. The full guidance can be found below;

Visiting arrangements in care homes

5. REMINDER Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund round 2 (information for all Birmingham providers)

Further the government announcement of the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund round 2 on 10 December and the published guidance last week we are working as quickly as possible to be in a position to distribute funding in January. Further updates will be provided through this bulletin. For more information about the grant please use the link below to the government website.

Please note the any grant money paid to care providers is conditional upon a commitment to weekly updating of the Capacity Tracker. Therefore if you are not updating the Capacity Tracker every 7 days the Council will not allocate funding.

Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund for adult social care, round 2

6. PRESS RELEASE Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results (information for all providers)

From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

Read the full press release below;

Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results

7. UPDATED GUIDANCE Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service for extra care and supported living settings (information for all supported living and extra care sheltered housing providers)

This guidance relates to regular retesting for extra care and supported living settings that meet the eligibility criteria. The following section has been amended; ‘Testing within 90 days of a positive result’.

The full guidance can be found below;

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing service for extra care and supported living settings

8. REMINDER Reporting COVID-19 suspected and confirmed deaths to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (information for all providers)

This is a reminder that providers are required to inform the CQC if there is a death of a person using the service. You will also be asked to record if the death is due to confirmed or suspected Covid-19. You can notify the CQC online through the CQC Provider Portal

CQC Provider Portal

9. Business continuity planning for staff shortages (information for all Birmingham providers)

As we are still in the peak of the latest wave of Covid-19 cases, we would like to remind all providers to ensure their business continuity plans are regularly reviewed and up to date, particularly in relation to staff shortages. If you are anticipating difficulties around maintaining safe staffing levels, please contact your area commissioner at the earliest opportunity to discuss any issues your organisation is facing and to see what support and advice can be offered.

Contact details for your area commissioners can be found below;

Who to contact in the Commissioning Team

A list of staffing agencies able to assist with COVID 19 staff shortages can be found below;

Staffing agencies able to assist with COVID-19 staff shortages

IN OTHER NEWS

10. Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (BSol CCG) education session for care home staff (information for all Birmingham and Solihull care homes)

BSol CCG have commissioned the following education sessions (webinars) which are available to all BSol care providers, both residential and nursing homes;

  • Verification of death – 12 January, 2 pm
  • Identifying and managing a dying patient – 13 January, 3 pm

Please use the link below to find out more:

Bespoke Training - Birmingham St Mary's Hospice (birminghamhospice.org.uk)

Look for the FREE BSol commissioning sessions to book a place.

11. Level 2 Cold Weather Alert - Extended to 10 January 2022 (information for providers operating in the West Midlands)

The latest Level 2 Met Office Cold Weather Alert issued for the West Midlands has now been extended until 10 January 2022. There is a 60% probability of severe cold weather between 9am Thursday 6 January and 9am Monday 10 January. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

Cold weather alerts

Please continue to share the following information and attached guidance with your staff, service users, communities and partner networks to help ensure that citizens - particularly those who are most vulnerable ­- are adequately prepared:

Weather warning

Region

Warning Level

Risk

Comments

West Midlands

Level 2 (Yellow)

60%

Cold weather continuing until the weekend with isolated snow showers and spells of sleet. Widespread frosts overnight, mostly across north of the region, possibly turning slightly milder from Saturday.

 

In addition, please be aware that you can sign up to the Met Office email alert service via the link below:

 

Guide to Met Office email alert service

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