This toolkit provides a step-by-step guide for managing the coronavirus in a care service. It provides links to key information and template policies on Croner-i. The information is being continually reviewed and updated.


The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This particular episode, which first appeared in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, has been named “Covid-19”.

Symptoms include a high fever, a new, continuous cough, and loss of, or change to, sense of smell or taste. Some may suffer from a mild illness and recover easily, while in other cases, infection can progress to pneumonia. Reports suggest that the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are the most susceptible to serious illness and death. Symptoms can appear in as few as two days after infection or as long as 10 days.

The vaccination programme, for which care service users and staff were given high priority, is proving highly effective in protecting people against severe illness, hospitalisation, and death from Covid-19. Vaccination also offers some, though not complete protection, against infection, but even limited protection should help to reduce the spread of the virus.

It is in the interests of everyone connected to the receiving and delivery of care to be fully vaccinated as soon as possible. In the development and implementation of policies the scale of the vaccination rollout should be considered as key risk reduction factor, though there will be no such thing as zero risk in any situation.

Employer duties

Care service employers should remember that they have a duty of care towards their staff, service users and visitors, and should take reasonable steps to protect their health and safety, preventing them from exposure to unnecessary risk.

What should you do as a care service manager?

  1. Ensure that staff understand the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination regulations which apply to care home staff in England and come into force on 11 November. See a Coronavirus (Covid-19) Mandatory Vaccination of Staff, Volunteers and Visiting Professionals in Care Homes (England) Policy and find some template letters to send to staff regarding the vaccination.

  2. Encourage staff who are unsure about having the Covid vaccination; we have a training presentation on Viruses, Vaccines and Vaccination explaining the basic science and some myth-busting Q&As — part one and part two.

  3. Update visiting policies in compliance with the latest government guidance. See the template Coronavirus (Covid-19) Care Home Visiting Policy.

  4. Carry out a risk assessment to ensure the home has all the necessary measures in place to ensure service users are safe when receiving visitors. See the Coronavirus “Safe to Visit” Dynamic Risk Assessment Checklist for Care Homes.

  5. Have a separate policy in place for Out of Care Home visits following the latest government guidance.

  6. Have a testing policy in place covering testing for residents, staff, visitors and visiting professionals.

  7. Ensure that staff adhere to high levels of hygiene and infection prevention procedures, particularly in relation to handwashing.

  8. Make sure that one person is responsible for keeping abreast of developments from the World Health Organization, the UK Government and the NHS, and that the care service is complying fully with Coronavirus (COVID-19): Adult Social Care Guidance, published by the Government.

  9. Draw up a policy on how your care service is taking steps to protect service users and staff from the coronavirus. See a template policy for care homes here and for domiciliary care here.

  10. Carry out a risk assessment for any members of staff with underlying health conditions.

  11. Carry out a risk assessment to identify service users who are at higher than baseline risk of experiencing the more severe forms of the coronavirus if they contract it.

  12. Communicate with staff regarding the care service’s pay policies and keep up to date with the latest government legislation regarding Statutory Sick Pay.

  13. Ensure that all staff are aware of what they need to do to comply fully with the NHS Test and Trace system. Coronavirus (Covid-19) Test and Trace: Contingency Planning (England) Policy

  14. If you need to recruit urgently in order to continue to deliver your service to the standards required during the Covid-19 outbreak, use the model Coronavirus (Covid-19) Staff Recruitment (Temporary) (England) Policy.

  15. Review your admissions policies and procedures in respect of applications for admission during the Covid-19 emergency situation. Admissions Management

  16. Use this form and this checklist to monitor and review that your strategies are addressing all key issues relating to the Covid-19 situation and are in line with the current government approach and guidance.

  17. Ensure your staff follow the latest guidance on using PPE and check their competency at putting it on and removing it. Competencies for Putting On and Taking Off PPE in Care Homes

  18. Consider whether it is appropriate to run a medicines re-use scheme and put a policy in place if necessary.

  19. Be aware of the updated Care Quality Commission death notification form and how to submit it. Death of a service user — notification requirements.

  20. Ensure business continuity and recovery policies and procedures are up to date, particularly in the case of staff emergencies. Coronavirus (Covid-19) Recovery Plan Policy

Useful policies

Useful Q&As

See a full list of our Q&As here.

Useful news items

See a full list of our news items here.

Last reviewed 21 September 2021