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 fever, cough and shortness of breath. 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 14 days.

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

  2. Communicate to service users’ families and friends that following the latest government advice regarding “lockdown” arrangements there should be no visits to care home residents until further notice. Encourage families to keep in touch using other methods such as phone calls, Skype, video calls, emails and letters. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Care Home (Temporary) Visiting Policy.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. Ensure your emergency planning and business contingency procedures are up to date particularly in the case of staffing emergencies and draw up a separate pandemic recovery plan policy. See a template here.

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

  10. 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.

  11. Ensure your staff follow the latest guidance on using PPE. Coronavirus PPE guidance for care homes

  12. Arrange coronavirus tests for staff and their families. COVID-19 testing for residents and staff.

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

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

Useful Q&As

Last reviewed 26 May 2020