Updates to COVID-19 Testing in Adult Social Care Guidance

Updates to COVID-19 Testing in Adult Social Care Guidance

You may have spotted an update to this guidance yesterday but been unsure what actually changed because of the unhelpful change log.

The key update to the guidance is in section 2.1 ‘Symptomatic Testing for Staff and Residents’ which now directs you to the IPC COVID-19 Supplement to explain when symptomatic testing processes should be followed. This is ahead of an update to the COVID-19 supplement in the coming week or two to reflect clarifications to symptomatic testing. An NHS Test and Trace newsletter email containing information summarising the planned updated guidance has now been sent to managers of services. I have copied this below and added some emphasis. Note the ‘ands’. Please also note that the newsletter also contains information about ordering rapid response and outbreak tests (note the sentence at the bottom of the email newsletter about accessing tests for admission from the community or another care setting) which I haven’t included in the summary below.

Staff symptomatic testing

Social care staff who have symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or staff who have symptoms of a respiratory infection and do not feel well enough to attend work should take an LFD test as soon as they feel unwell (day 0). Staff with respiratory symptoms who feel well enough to work and do not have a temperature, do not need to take a symptomatic test and can continue working.

If the result of this LFD test is positive, staff should follow the advice in the section ‘If a staff member receives a positive lateral flow or PCR test result’ in the IPC COVID-19 Supplement.

If the LFD test result is negative, they should take another LFD test 48 hours later, staying away from work during this time. If this is also negative, they can return to work if well enough to do so.

Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections include:

  • headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
  • muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
  • shortness of breath
  • high temperature, fever or chills
  • continuous cough
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
  • not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
  • sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick

Residents symptomatic testing

People who are older or frail may present with atypical symptoms which should also be considered as part of the assessment about whether someone may have COVID-19. Changes in well-being, behaviour and clinical signs including a high temperature should all be considered, and clinical advice sought if necessary, for example from the GP if the person is unwell.

Residents who have symptoms of a respiratory infection (listed above) and have a high temperature or who have symptoms of a respiratory infection and are too unwell to carry out their usual activities should take a LFD test as soon as they feel unwell (day 0). As noted above, atypical symptoms should also be considered for people who are older or frail and clinical advice sought if necessary.

Residents should immediately take a lateral flow test as soon as they develop symptoms and if this first test is negative, they should take another lateral flow test 48 hours after the first test, and avoid contact with others during this time.

Petition to reinstate the Infection Control and Testing Fund

Hampshire Care Association has set up a parliamentary petition calling for the reinstatement of the Infection Control and Testing Fund – particularly in light of the continuing requirement for staff to test and isolate if symptomatic/positive. If you would like to sign it, use this link: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/614377. Please share across your networks.

Liberty Protection Safeguards – Register for Lived Experience Events

The government is updating the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice and considering a new system of safeguards – the Liberty Protection Safeguards. This new system will replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. NCF will have a briefing for members shortly on the consultation that has been launched for this. In the meantime, the government has launched an Easy Read Consultation page: Changes to the law and guidance about making your own decisions (easy read) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The government also understands that not everyone will want to tell it what they think about its plans by responding to the consultation survey. The government will therefore be holding a number of online events where people with lived experience of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and the Mental Capacity Act will have the opportunity to tell the government what they think about the Liberty Protection Safeguards and what this might mean for them.

The government expects that each event will be held online and will be roughly two and half hours long, with half an hour for breaks. The events will be run by DHSC and led by Hilary Paxton who has previously led events for people with lived experience about the Liberty Protection Safeguards.

If you or someone else that you know would like to attend one of these events, please fill in and submit this form.

Care Provider Alliance Update on Fair Cost of Care

Please find attached an update letter from the Chair of the Care Provider Alliance.

The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) is working with DHSC in respect of the Fair Cost of Care (FCC) exercise and Market Sustainability Plan across both the home care and care home sector. The CPA will be sending updates, information, and FAQs via its member associations directly to care providers throughout the process to drive engagement and respond to questions and issues which surface in order to seek swift resolution.

The CPA believes currently that it is critical that providers engage in the FCC data collection exercise to determine the actual cost of providing ‘high quality’ care nationally to seek the appropriate level of funding from the government. This is a one-off chance to evidence the cost of provision locally and nationally to compensate providers appropriately against the reforms to be introduced such as the Cap on Care, FCC and the implementation of Section 18(3) of the Care Act, which will see those self-funding their own care to access the local authorities rate paid for care.

If you would like to receive regular updates, support materials, guidance and FAQs directly from the CPA related to the FCC and Market Sustainability Plan process, please send an email to FCC@careprovideralliance.org.uk with your expression of interest and we will add you to the contact list.

 National Care Forum