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.

Coronavirus

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.

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. Care home managers must prepare their staff and residents for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine as the highest priority group. See here for what you need to do as a manager to prepare. See also a Consent Form for Coronavirus Testing/Vaccination Against Covid-19.

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

  3. Communicate to friends and family the latest guidance on visiting residents during the national lockdown, published in January 2021, National Lockdown: Stay at Home. This states that visits to care homes can still take place with appropriate mitigation arrangements, such as substantial screens, visiting pods or behind windows, etc. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. For more details, see the updated Coronavirus (Covid-19): Care Home Visiting Policy and the Coronavirus “Safe to Visit” Dynamic Risk Assessment Checklist for Care Homes.

  4. Prepare for visitor testing.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

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

  10. Ensure your emergency planning and business contingency procedures are up to date particularly in the case of staff emergencies. Coronavirus (Covid-19) Test and Trace: Contingency Planning (England) Policy

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Arrange coronavirus tests for staff and their families. Covid-19 testing for residents and staff. Use the consent forms available here and the template Coronavirus (Covid-19) Testing in Care Homes Policy.

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

  17. 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

Useful news items

Last reviewed 5 January 2021