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Information for care homes


Webinar: COVID-19 Infection control, testing and PPE update webinar 18 September 2020

The webinar recording and presentation from the session are now available below:


The questions and answers from the webinar will be uploaded as soon as they are available.

The webinar summarised recent changes for care home managers and leaders with a focus on:

  • Guidance in preparation for the winter
  • Learning on infection prevention and control
  • Local Public Health advice to support care home visiting policies
  • PPE – recent changes and practical advice
  • Testing – recent changes and practical challenges.  (* Please note that the period for retesting following a positive test result has extended from 6 weeks to 90 days, unless they develop new possible Covid-19 symptoms.  Please refer to the Covid 19 Testing page for the most recent update.)



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



Visits to care homes

On 22 July the government updated its guidance for care homes on developing their policies for non-essential visits. This is currently being updated in line with the visiting guidance in the Adult social care: COVID-19 winter plan (18 September 2020). Within the national guidance, it is set out that care homes should take account of any local advice and guidance. For Staffordshire, this is set out in the document below.

The local advice also sets out the circumstances in which Staffordshire advises care homes to return to essential visits only.

Please can you ensure that you take account of this advice in developing your visiting policy.

Staffordshire Care Home Visiting Guidance (208 KB) 23 September 2020

National guidance relating to family visits in care homes to residents who are end of life can be found in section 4 of the Coronavirus (Covid-19): admission and care of people in care homes (2 September 2020) and in the adult social care action plan 15 April 2020.

Section 3.11 of the action plan states:

“Whilst we (Department of Health and Social Care) have recommended care homes limit unnecessary visits, we are clear that visits at the end of life are important both for the individual and their loved ones and should continue.”

Please note: physical visits by Staffordshire County Council or MPFT staff will not take place until further notice unless there is an urgent requirement to do so or a significant risk if they cannot be undertaken, and only where they cannot be carried out by phone or telecon (for example, Mental Health assessment or other assessment, safeguarding or quality assurance).



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.

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 needs us to support more people, as hospital beds need to be freed up for those who need them most - and they may well be needed for your residents in the future. 

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 that have not already done so are required to register on the Capacity Tracker and update the system consistency 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.

Data updates from care homes are required daily (throughout the week and including weekends) even if no change has occurred relating to:

  • costs and bed vacancies
  • current status i.e. open or closed to admissions (care homes only), including number of COVID-19 residents 
  • Covid-19 recovery – requests data on new laboratory confirmed or clinically suspected cases of Covid-19 infection in either patients or staff on the capacity tracker every day. Covid-19 recovery guidance (189 KB) has been produced to support care homes with this reporting. 
  • workforce or staffing levels (care homes only)
  • PPE status

All care homes are also required to complete a small number of adult social care Infection Control Fund questions on the system on a weekly basis. These questions need to be completed to reflect your current situation. 

Changes have been made to the Capacity Tracker (operational since 22 September 2020) to make it easier for you to regularly review and update your information. 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.
  • ‘ASC’ (for update weekly) – contains the infection control questions 

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. 



Hot weather advice for care homes

Public Health England ‘Beat the Heat’ checklist for care homes (external link to a PDF document) contains a checklist to help care homes keep residents safe from high temperatures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

See also our Other resources on the use of PPE section for measures to reduce risk of heat stress for staff wearing PPE.


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) 24 April 2020

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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