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Information for care homes


Infection Control Fund allocations

A list of all care fund allocations made to care home providers from rounds 1 and 2, including PPE and Statutory Sick Pay contributions is now available. 

In October 2020, we wrote to all care homes based in Staffordshire to confirm their Infection Control Fund (IFC) allocation.  You can find a copy of the letter along with the Grant Conditions below:

ICF allocation letter to care homes 26.10.20 (195 KB)

ICF Grant Conditions 1.10.20 (601 KB)



Visits to care homes

Please note that the national Guidance on care home visiting - GOV.UK was updated on 21 June 2021 in line with planned changes linked to the Roadmap out of lockdown.

The DHSC has also developed a Summary of guidance for visitors - GOV.UK – aimed at visitors and families, to reduce the risks around visiting for everyone. 

Please see the local guidance (625 KB) which was reviewed on 24 June 2021 to take account of these changes. 

Please note: Care homes are not required to submit their individual Visiting Policies to Staffordshire County Council for consideration or approval.

Any additional changes to local guidance will be issued via email from ascincidentmanagement@staffordshire.gov.uk to the provider’s nominated email address and copies posted on this website.

Advice requiring urgent action will be identified in the heading as “For Urgent Action: Change of Advice for Visiting in Care Home Settings”.  Providers and managers of care home settings in Staffordshire should ensure that they have robust arrangements for checking their nominated email address daily for such alerts and to confirm receipt; and, should such alerts be issued, the provider and manager is advised to implement the change to essential visiting only by no later than the following day. 



Information from NHSX iPad offer team on helping you get the best out of your new iPad

Additional support for care homes 

NHSX has made additional support available to those providers who were eligible for and received an iPad as part of its recent offer to care homes.

There are lots of resources and additional support available to help you activate (if you have not already done so) and regularly use your device. 

For technical queries and support relating to how the iPad works, including breakdowns and apps, care homes can contact the Jigsaw24 service desk on: 03332 409 234 or send an email to: carehomesupport@jigsaw24.com. The service desk is open Monday to Friday 08:30 – 18:00 (excluding bank holidays).

‘Getting started with your iPad’ guidance (provided by Jigsaw24) can be found in the Books app on the iPad home screen, and a printed copy has been included in the iPad box. This guidance includes instructions for installing additional apps and using features such as Guided Access. 

Care homes can access a range of support materials on the Digital Social Care website here. This webpage includes the below resources, and will be updated regularly as more resources are published: 

  • Weekly support webinars on iPad set-up and troubleshooting. Webinars can be accessed through Teams on Wednesdays, 2-3 pm here.  Webinars run through the set up process and guide care homes through using NHSmail, MS Teams and downloading apps. There is also a Q&A opportunity.

  • Tips and advice on what care homes can use their iPad for, including useful apps.

  • iPad case studies

  • Safety and security while using the iPad, including information about completion of the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) and the Better Security, Better Care programme. 

  • Guidance on using NHSmail and MS Teams with iPads. General guidance can also be found here

  • Information about NHSX’s other offers for care providers, including connectivity deals for care homes.  

  • Newsletter sign-up – so care homes can keep updated on new support materials as soon as they are available

Sign up for free training sessions and support

Barclays are offering a Digital Eagles skills support package for care homes which includes an offer of free digital skills training delivered through remote training sessions. Just email digitaleagleshq@barclays.com and they'll send you invitations to the sessions below and answer any questions you might have.   

The training sessions on offer include:  

  • Getting started - learn how to set up your iPad and how it works

  • Entertainment - an introduction to apps and games you'll find in the App Store

  • Digital safety - find out how to stay safe online and avoid scams with our top tips

  • Connecting - learn how to use apps to connect with your loved ones and GPs. 


Webinar: Covid-19 second wave - urgent and key actions for care homes re infection prevention and control - 12 November 2020

The purpose of the webinar was to:

  • ensure providers are aware of the current levels of Covid-19 and the current risks to care homes
  • remind you of what you must do to ensure the safety of your residents
  • summarise some of the recent learning from local outbreak management for you to consider in your own setting
  • remind you of resources available to help you

You can find a YouTube webinar recording, the contents of the presentation slides and questions and answers from the webinar here.    


National and local guidance and support materials for care homes

National Guidance

  • Social Care Institute for Excellence care homes and Covid-19: advice and best practice webpage. This includes case studies and best practice resources and specific resource sections on dementia, autism and learning disabilities. It identifies innovative examples from the sector around activity co-ordination and promotion of social engagement with families and the local community. It also provides guidance on safeguarding and infection control.

Local guidance for Staffordshire care homes in devising visiting policy can be found in the visits to Care Homes section. 



Staffordshire care home support plan

The Covid-19 pandemic is a never seen before challenge for health and care in Staffordshire. It challenges every service across the NHS and social care, and, in particular, our care homes.

We have 243 active care homes in Staffordshire, with a total of 7,599 registered beds.

As part of our commitment to supporting care homes through the coronavirus pandemic, Staffordshire County Council and Staffordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups have worked with other representative groups to jointly submit a care home support plan to the Department of Health and Care. This plan outlines the enormous amount of support that has been and will continue to be provided to this vital part of our community.  

Staffordshire’s care home support plan and supporting information can be downloaded below:

Care home support plan (652 KB)

Care home support plan - planning return (226 KB)

See the details of the financial investment (307 KB) which accompanies this information.


Financial sustainability

Dr Richard Harling, Director of Health and Care, has written to update care home providers on the second phase of financial support being provided by the Council.

Care homes - additional measures to provide financial stability and support (265 KB) 20 May 2020

Care home providers (237 KB) 30 March 2020



Infection control and PPE in care homes: Staffordshire's infection control resource pack

Please see the Covid-19 infection prevention and control page for how to access bespoke infection control advice and a range of useful guidance on infection control as well as links to specific PPE resources for care homes.

We also have guidance on how to work safely in care homes on the PPE page.

Free Covid-19 IPC Training for care homes

Health Education England has added a new COVID-19 IPC Training for Care Homes resource to its e-LfH COVID-19 learning programme. The resource is applicable to educate trainers and other staff working in care homes in infection prevention and control (IPC) and is free of charge. It includes four short sessions on social distancing, hand hygiene and PPE; caring for someone with Covid-19; maintaining a Covid-19 safe environment, and; planning to ensure readiness and resilience when facing the Covid-19 pandemic (the latter aimed at care home managers). 

Public Health England guidance for care home providers

Public Health England West Midlands Centre have produced the following documents for care home settings which are available to download and print out:

Frequently asked questions for care settings (511 KB) 8 April 2020

Covid-19 toolkit (535 KB) 8 April 2020



Dementia: A supportive guide for carers 

This guide aims to support carers in choosing activities which may help them to care for people with dementia during the pandemic. It also covers the health and wellbeing of those who care.  The guide, which you can download for offline reading, has been produced by the Community Mental Health Team at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Dementia: A supportive guide for carers (1.2 MB)



New admissions or returns from hospital

As you will be well aware, the NHS has to free up hospital beds to support more people who need them most. Following a second spike in Covid-19 infection rates causing higher than normal levels of hospital admissions in particular over the winter period this year, this is more important than ever. 

Please refer to the following letter sent from Dr. Richard Harling to care homes on 6 November 2020 for further guidance on this.

Discharge from hospital to care home - letter from the Director of Public Health (312 KB)

The hospital discharge team should be able to answer any questions you may have about the admission.  If you have any specific query that you cannot resolve by speaking to the hospital, then please email us and we will link the query with our NHS colleagues.

Email: ascincidentmanagement@staffordshire.gov.uk



Capacity tracker

The capacity tracker website is being used as a national system for care homes to communicate to the NHS and local authorities during the Covid-19 outbreak their current vacancies at the home and business continuity data on a consistent basis. 

All care homes are required to register on the Capacity Tracker and update the system consistently for the foreseeable future. The data shared provides a national picture of care homes during the pandemic and can help to identify where the pressure points are and where support needs to be targeted.

Daily updates of costs, vacancies and business continuity information from care homes are required throughout the week and including weekends even if no change has taken place, or more regularly if there is a change.

In addition, all care homes are required to complete adult social care Infection Control Fund questions on a regular basis. From 12 November two new question sets were added, one of which care homes need to complete on a weekly basis and the other which needs to be completed on a monthly basis.  You can find a 12 November update and guidance on the use of Capacity Tracker and how to complete it here.  

When updating your details, please access the ‘Providers Setup/Details’ tile from the main menu (appearing as a heart with a jagged white line running through it). 

Once you have done this, you can make updates to your account using the hyperlinks in the table provided on the website: 

  • 'Costs, vacancies and business continuity’ (for update daily) – All three sections have now been combined into one section.  This is where all daily updated information sits for:

    • Workforce status

    • PPE status

    • Covid-19 resident status

    • Covid-19 staffing status

    • Flu immunisation status

    • Vacancy status and type

    • Covid-19 status of discharged residents (also new in November 2020)

Each section within this screen will have a separate "last updated" message in it, allowing you to see how up to date your information is on the system.  

  • 'ICF2 / Infection Control' (hyperlinks are separate for weekly and monthly updates) – contains the Infection Control Fund 2 questions (newly updated in November 2020).  Both individual screens will tell you if you have completed the section within the appropriate time period (within the last week or within the last month) and will indicate when you last updated them.  At present, the agency staff question is the only question requiring a monthly update - all other questions require a weekly update. 

To support care homes to update the system on a regular basis (including at weekends), they can have multiple staff log ins. Updates can also be made using a smartphone as well as a tablet and computer. 

Providers struggling to complete the required information can find ‘how to’ guides and videos under the section ‘care home support’ within the ‘Help’ icon. Help videos and access details for the support centre via email and telephone are also available through the main capacity tracker login page. 



Community pharmacy stock of end-of-life medications

Across Staffordshire, there are selected pharmacies which hold a selection of end-of-life or palliative care medication for dispensing against FP10 prescriptions. For any urgent access to palliative care medicines, it is advised that patients, carers and health professionals use these specific pharmacies.

The documents below which contain a list of these pharmacies and the stock list of medicines they hold, are available to download and print out: 

List of the selected pharmacies (91 KB) 22 June 2020

Stock list of medicines (313 KB)

During this current time, due to the increased demand for timely access to these medications, the local pharmaceutical committees are working to provide a daily update on current stocks on each of these pharmacies. This information will be shared with the Palliative Care Co-ordination Centre (PCCC) on a daily basis so if there are any difficulties obtaining end-of-life medications please contact the PCCC:

Phone: 0300 123 0989

Email: sst-tr.pccc@nhs.net or pccc@mpft.nhs.uk.

The CCG is working with the local NHS England regional team to increase the number of pharmacies stocking palliative care drugs and to review the existing stock lists to ensure alternative oral symptom control medication is available. These will become operational during the week commencing 13 April 2020 and an updated pharmacy list will be shared once these sites are operational.



Reporting deaths in a care home setting

Guidance for verification of expected death during the pandemic from Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs is available here:

Verification of expected death: remote process during Covid-19 pandemic (233 KB)

To limit contact, the doctor or GP completing the required paperwork will scan it to our registration team.

During this time the family or next of kin would not be required to attend the registration office. Registration staff will call the family or next of kin to arrange to register the death by telephone once the medical paperwork has been received by the registration office. 

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