Update on the use of vinyl gloves

We recognise that there has been some ongoing confusion in terms of guidance on the suitability of different gloves.

 

Health Protection Scotland have stated that vinyl gloves should not be used for personal care as they offer less protection for the wearer.

 

On this basis, the NSS PPE support centre had asked services to segregate any vinyl gloves from their PPE supplies and repurpose them for equipment/environmental.

Due to the risk of body fluid contamination, non sterile latex/nitrile or neoprene gloves should be used where there is contact with a person. More information can be found here: https://hpspubsrepo.blob.core.windows.net/hps-website/nss/3026/documents/1_nipcm-appendix-5.pdf

 

NSS have clarified that they are not saying providers cannot use their own vinyl gloves which they have procured. Instead, they are advising that best practice in infection control would be a higher standard of glove like “nitrile”.

 

Based on a service’s judgement, there may still be elements of care and support provision in which the use of vinyl gloves is appropriate.

 

From the guidance:

“The use of gloves should be based on an assessment of the risk of contact with blood, body fluids, secretions and/or excretions, non-intact skin, mucous membranes, hazardous drugs and chemicals, e.g. cleaning agents: Where such a risk exists, gloves should be worn to protect the healthcare worker and/or the patient”.

Source: Standard Infection Control Precautions Literature Review: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Gloves Version 3: Review date: 3.0 Infection Control Team Financial year 2019/20

 

In order to follow best practice, local PPE HUBs will be stocked with the higher standard of glove in line with Health Protection Scotland guidance so any gloves issued through this route will be the higher standard.

 

Scottish Care has contacted officials to seek absolute clarity as to the use of different glove types in social care settings. We have raised the issues of confusing guidance, concerns about existing stocks of vinyl gloves and their suitable use, and how recommended use of higher standard gloves have significant cost and access implications for services.

We will provide a further update as soon as this is available.

 

In the meantime, should you require nitrile based gloves for personal care purposes, these are available for collection from your local HSCP Hub from Friday 22nd May onwards.

If you require further information regarding your local HSCP Hub, or have difficulties accessing this Hub for supplies, please call our team at the PPE Support Centre who will be happy to help you. You can reach this helpline on 0300 303 3020 between the hours of 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 9am-1pm Sunday.

 

Scottish Parliament Clarification – 20 May 2020

In the debate on Stage 3 Proceedings for the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, Neil Findlay MSP spoke to a proposed amendment regarding social care. In describing examples whereby staff are paid below the Living Wage, he described adverts on the Scottish Care website for care posts advertised at below this rate.

This is completely untrue. Scottish Care has never advertised posts for care workers on our website. As a membership body and not a care provider, it is not our position to do so.

In relation to Mr Findlay’s wider point regarding who receives the Living Wage in a care setting, Scottish Care has campaigned for many years for the extension of the Living Wage to all who work in care homes and other parts of the sector. Scottish Care and our members recognise that all workers in a care setting – regardless of whether they provide direct care or not – are critical to quality care provision whether they are supporting direct care, cleanliness, nutrition or any other role and should be valued and remunerated to Living Wage level as an absolute minimum. This has been resisted repeatedly by both national and local government. We would welcome moves to change this.

The Living Wage is one part of a wider Fair Work agenda which aims to improve pay, terms and conditions for social care staff. As a member of the Fair Work in Social Care Group, Scottish Care will continue to progress these matters with Scottish Government and other stakeholders.

Fair Work in Scotland’s Social Care Sector 2019 report: https://www.fairworkconvention.scot/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Fair-Work-in-Scotland’s-Social-Care-Sector-2019.pdf

Scottish Care statement on face protection in care services

Last week, in light of national statistics and international clinical evidence Scottish Care called for an extension of Covid-19 testing and the use of face protection in care services. We welcomed the decision of the Scottish Government to implement testing extensions for all care home residents and staff where a case of COVID-19 is identified as well as wider and more regular precautionary testing for monitoring purposes. We continue to call for the testing of all care home residents and staff as the optimum measure to enhance prevention and safety.

As we so sadly continue to see, care homes are being hit extremely hard by this virus and we need to constantly review and revise our national approach to best support residents, relatives and staff. Distressingly, we may still not have reached the peak of the virus in care homes and anything that can be done to protect individuals and services and reduce risk of infection spread and deaths must be implemented with urgency.

As knowledge and advice in relation to the virus develops, we are seeing particular spread risks associated with pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.

That is why we are again calling for a change to national guidance so that all staff in care homes and providing care at home – regardless of role, Covid status or proximity to others – wear face protection in order to reduce the transmission of the virus.

If it is appropriate for face protection to be worn when citizens go shopping then it seems even more important that face protection is worn when providing support of any nature to individuals who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. This includes the use of face masks when within a two-metre distance and when providing direct care and support, regardless of Covid status.

This approach can help to minimise asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread of the virus and provide some additional assurances to understandably worried residents, relatives and staff. We acknowledge that some Health & Social Care Partnerships have implemented this approach but it is crucial that we see a consistent, unambiguous national directive in this regard.

We recognise that for services which do not normally require masks for this level of use, this will be a massive increase in demand for PPE. It will be necessary for supply challenges and increased, unsustainable costs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

We also recognise the challenges posed by supporting people with dementia, hearing impairment and other conditions which can mean that the constant wearing of face coverings can cause additional distress. Scottish Care remains committed to working with providers and partner organisations to ensure a ‘new care normal’ can be developed which recognises both the urgent need to protect life as well as to promote and sustain quality of life.

5 May 2020

Guidance for stepdown of infection control precautions & discharging COVID-19 patients from hospital

Health Protection Scotland has published Version 1.1 of ‘COVID-19 – guidance for stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging COVID-19 patients from hospital to residential settings‘.

This guidance provides advice on appropriate discontinuation of infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions for patients recovering or recovered from COVID-19 and either remaining in hospital, being discharged to their own home or to residential care.

https://hpspubsrepo.blob.core.windows.net/hps-website/nss/3012/documents/1_covid-19-step-down-guidance.pdf

Review of the week: 19-25 April

This week has yet again seen a particular national political and media focus upon care homes with the sobering and sad statistics around death and infection rates. There has been a change in media and to an extent political focus which has inevitably moved from a degree of support for care providers to one of finger pointing and accusation. As I write this I acknowledge that the next few weeks will be one of particular challenge for both the care home and care at home/housing support sectors. But when all is said and done the focus of all our attention, regardless of squabbles and competing priorities, is the maintenance of life and the assurance of a quality of life for those we care for.

 

The following is a summary of some of the main issues in the week that has passed.

 

Finance and sustainability

I start with this theme because it has been an increasing area of concern and focus in the last week. On Monday and Tuesday, we put out a strong message in the media focussing on issues of sustainability being faced by both the homecare and the care home sector in Scotland. It will ill fit if we get through the pandemic to discover that on the other side care homes are having to close and that homecare organisations have gone to the wall and staff are being made redundant. We have spent the last week gathering intelligence in terms of what is happening in relation the COSLA Commissioning Guidance. It is clear that there is an unhelpful diversity across the country with some partnerships paying for planned and supporting providers re PPE, in other partnerships such as North Ayrshire we still see the obscenity of providers being held to electronic call monitoring payment systems.

 

I had a one to one meeting with my COSLA equivalent on Wednesday following my letter to COSLA last Friday. As a result of this meeting Karen and Janice have been gathering evidence for homecare as I mentioned above. On Friday the Scottish Care Executive met and spent some time exploring issues of sustainability including what we would be seeking in terms of settlement for the care home sector on top of the current NCHC rates and on issues of occupancy especially where there is a real issue of a dramatic drop in admissions as a result of the virus as well as the exorbitant cost rises due to PPE and staffing. A meeting is to be held with COSLA early next week to address some of these issues.

Karen has attempted to bring illumination to both Unison and the GMB who are acting under the assumption that on issues such as SSP that it is providers who are holding money back from workers. We continue to try to be polite to our trade union colleagues despite the aggressive door-stepping tactics they have been using on distressed staff.

 

PPE

Last weekend saw the start of the roll out by direct delivery of 5 days supplies to care homes. This has been well received by members. Karen has led our dialogue on PPE with other stakeholders and has argued strongly that this roll out needed to be extended into homecare with a direct delivery. This has to date fallen on deaf ears. The intention is to use the hubs as the main distribution route. Scottish Care has made it robustly clear that we want to see clear evidence of resolution of the issues we had previously faced when the hubs were in use. A very clear set of principles and guidance has now been developed for the hubs. At the present time the glitches are being worked on and we will keep a keen eye on this as it progresses. In the meantime, if ANY provider has significant and critical shortage please go straight to the Triage. The Triage continues to be responsive to issues which Karen and I raise on a daily basis not least in our nightly phone-call with them.

 

We continue to work hard to try to source PPE. The public and political narrative has changed on PPE to the degree that we are being strongly urged that we have as social care providers to use our normal routes of supply. We have made it clear that these routes are shutting down or are empty thus the greater use of the Triage and NSS. However, we have in the last couple of weeks been approached by over 100 organisations and companies and it is down to the immeasurable skill and focus of Stefanie Callaghan that we now have a substantial number of verified PPE offers on the Scottish Care website in the members areas. A story covering this can be found at https://scottishcare.org/scottish-care-works-with-local-organisations-to-address-ppe-shortage/

 

We need to make it clear to the general public as well as politicians that the sector is busting a gut in order to get PPE – BUT that the cost of this is exorbitant and having a profound impact on sustainability.

 

As part of our efforts I have written to the Finance Secretary to ask her to intervene with the Chancellor to request both the removal of VAT on PPE and the extension of tax breaks to frontline care workers.

 

The added complication is the growing number of Health Boards and Public Health Scotland officials who are instructing care providers to use masks in all care encounters. This is contrary to the last published HPS Guidance and has caused considerable anxiety at care face level;. I have brought this up directly with the Cabinet Secretary and we are working with NSS to ensure they are modelling this additional need when it will inevitably happen, not least because of our concerns over workforce anxiety that this change will precipitate.

 

We will continue to highlight the sheer impossibility of getting some stock and will underline this in our media exchanges.

 

Care Home Strategy, CI and Public Health Scotland

Members will be aware that as a result of the announcements made by the Cabinet Secretary that Public Health Scotland officials have been carrying out ‘visits or contacts’ with care home providers to ascertain the level of infection control responsiveness etc. I have stated quite clearly that the tone of the initial correspondence in relation to this and the enacting of this requirement by some officials has been extremely unhelpful. In this we have had the full support of the Care Inspectorate. The whole process is meant to be ‘supportive and collaborative’ but it has not felt like that in some parts of the country. I am well aware of the irritation and anger caused by individuals who have no idea about the nature of care home delivery and have never had contact before with the sector in any meaningful way. I have also had to address directly with senior officials the fact that in one part of the country there were actual physical visits. The risk of infection is explicitly clear and together with the CI we have clearly stated that such visits would ONLY be undertaken were there identified areas of concern.

 

I hope to join a call with PHS officials this week and it is our hope that the Director of PHS will join us on a webinar at some point.

 

Optimally the role of PHS and other clinical colleagues is to provide support not an extra burden and distraction. In relation to which we hope to finally this coming week sort the nonsense of multiple reporting points over data gathering which is becoming absolutely burdensome for so many providers.

 

Following the Cabinet Secretary announcements two groups have been established. The first is an overarching group chaired by a Director of Health and Social Care at Scottish Government and this Task Force has oversight of all strands impacting the sector. The second group is a Clinical and Professional Group which is jointly chaired by Prof Graham Ellis of the CMO and Diane Murray the Depute Chief Nursing Officer. We are represented on both.

 

The first group has identified reporting duplication; PPE, testing, the nature of partnership working; addressing negative media comment and communication as some of its priorities. The second Clinical group is developing a one clear set of Guidance documents to incorporate the confusing plethora of guidance that is now out there. There will also be a particular focus on admission, testing of residents, infection control etc.

 

I am very aware that at latest data count we still have 64% of homes with no infection. The aim is to ensure that we keep this figure as high as possible and to support clinically those care homes where there has been an outbreak.

 

Testing

This weekend it is still clear that there is insufficient consistency in testing across Scotland with some clear examples of really good practice such as Tayside and Fife and some woeful examples such as Glasgow, Aberdeen City and Highlands. These were the same as last weekend! There is indeed evidence of increased staff return as a result of testing and people coming out of self-isolation with providers reporting figures closer to a 10-15% average.

 

However, I am very concerned that the promise to test those who are symptomatic in care homes is not one that is going to be realistically achieved to the scale that is necessary both to manage the distress of residents, free up staff and effectively reduce the risk of virus spread. If we are as a total only talking about a 3500 ‘capacity’ by the end of April that is simply not sufficient. We will continue to press on the need for testing to be closer and more flexible to enable many staff who do not drive to get access to the testing centres and to argue for staff to be properly trained if they are required to undertake these tests on care home residents.

 

Care at Home

 It has become increasingly clear that we need, whilst still maintaining the focus on care homes, to get both media, society and political leadership to focus on the pressing issues affecting the care at home organisations and workforce. There are significant issues of PPE availability together with a poor level of access to tests. Whilst sadly 33% of the total national death rate is in care homes we acknowledge that the vast majority of community cases and thus in hospitals are individuals who have had home care supports and care. This population cannot simply be forgotten to say nothing of the crippling issues of loss of work by many providers as individual family members cancel contracts because they are now at home. Scottish Care has issued two statements in the last week on these issues, but we are struggling to get media airtime on these issues. We will keep pressing and keep highlighting.

 

Workforce

The SSSC portal is now up and active and already has placed 126 individuals with social care providers. This seems to be working but we need members to use both this and the RAG system to address shortage of workers. In particular we are aware of the sheer exhaustion being faced by existing staff – this route is a potential real benefit for the sector. We will be issuing further information on this in the days ahead . Caroline remains the main point of contact for issues relating to the wider workforce. Jacqui is the point of contact for nurses. We are delighted that we are now being supported by over 80 2nd year student nurses. This is a real asset and benefit to the sector.

 

We recognise the critical importance of psychological support for the workforce both in care homes and in the community. Caroline has been closely involved in the development of a portal to support the workforce which is due to be launched next week. We will have details of this on the website together with any bespoke support around grief support.

 

Can I encourage you to read the honest and real blog which Caroline has written on the impact of coronavirus. https://scottishcare.org/latest-covid-19-blog-from-our-workforce-lead/

 

Supporting communities and individuals

The Technology Devices Network project continues to get a lot of media attention and we are very grateful to those who have donated items. Please encourage the wider awareness of this project and thanks to Becca and Jenn for their commitment to this work. It is really important – indeed increasingly so as we get deeper into lockdown – that we keep people connected. The impact and distress of exclusion is becoming more acute.

https://scottishcare.org/scottish-care-launches-initiative-to-connect-people-through-technology-2/

 

Communication

We held another two webinars this week. The first was with Caroline Deane, our Workforce Lead and me and the second was with Peter Macleod, Kevin Mitchell and Heather Edwards from the Care Inspectorate. Again both were well attended, and we hope to hold another two next week. The first of these will be divided equally between care at home and care home issues. All the webinars are available on the website.

 

We continue to put significant amounts of material on the website and I want to thank Shanice and Becca for doing amazing work yet again this week.

 

It has been a busy media week but one which has been more defensive than before as the media turn both against the sector and away from it. Colleagues in Government and Health Boards recognise this is an issue of particular challenge, and we are starting to co-ordinate the message.

 

I am grateful to Becca and Shanice for developing statements on particular media issues which are put up with regularity on the website, such as the response to the admissions stories in the media last Sunday. They are also developing a media pack to support our members when they are approached by the media. You will be aware that some journalists have been falsely claiming to be from the Care Inspectorate or the BBC in order to get access and stories. Please approach us if you have any concerns or go to the Care Inspectorate.

I continue to have a weekly 1 to 1 with the Cabinet Secretary and Karen, Becca and I continue to have dialogue with opposition party politicians to indicate to them what our stance is on particular issues.

 

Palliative and end of life care

Jacqui Neil and I continue to be involved in national discussions on palliative care in the community and in care homes. We are grateful to colleagues in Pharmacy who have developed a Palliative Care pack to support producers within the restrictions of Home Office legislation. This is now available on our website for those who might be interested. https://scottishcare.org/palliative-care-toolkit/

 

The ‘new care normal’

The First Minister published the Scottish Government strategy for coming out of lockdown on Thursday and encouraged a public debate on the issues which the document raised.

 

For the social care sector coming out of lockdown is likely to be very challenging. If as it is envisaged that there will be a phased and incremental removal of restrictions it is highly likely that this will mean that care settings will be amongst the last to be back to familiar patterns of conduct and access. Even when this happens it is likely that social distancing will continue for some time and that staff will be required to continue to utilise a high level of PPE. Apart from the obvious implications that all this might have for the sustainability and indeed survival of the sector this will have massive impact on those we care for.

 

It is already clear that levels of distress and psychological harm upon those living with dementia is indeed becoming more acute. My concern is that we need to get a better balance between proportionate restriction of freedom of movement in order to attain infection control and a diminishing of normal life to the extent to which it is causing psychological and physiological damage e.g. through increased falls, impact on nutrition etc. I am concerned that too many assumptions have been made by colleagues who have little or no understanding of the nature of care homes and of the population that is supported within them. I am intending to host a clinical and professional group this coming week to examine some of these issues which include isolation of people with dementia in their own homes in the community where they have only paid support in their lives especially with the loss of day activities.

 

Within the community I am also concerned that some of the narrative is presumptively assuming that there will be the use of age restrictions so for instance those over 70 may be in lockdown for a longer period of time. Just as withdrawing treatment based upon age was unacceptable as an ethical choice so I would contend such restrictions would be equally unacceptable.

 

And finally…

Everyone at the Scottish Care team is working hard on your behalf. Please continue to be in touch with your local Independent Sector Lead as the intelligence which they get from you is crucial in our ability to understand the issues and to communicate them to Government. Their details are on the website.

 

Yesterday we said a fond au revoir to our colleague Verity Monaghan who has started maternity leave. Verity has been working for us with monies provided by Life Changes Trust on embedding human rights in seven care homes as part of the Rights Made Real project. She has written up a full report and resource on this work which we hope to publish in June. The work continues but because of the current situation we will not be recruiting cover for her post until September when phase two starts. We wish Verity all the best. Her latest blog came out yesterday. https://scottishcare.org/the-journey-thus-far-blog-from-verity-monaghan/

 

Please also continue to use Swaran as your members’ link and to contact Laura, Cath and Colette at the ‘office’ with any issues.

 

Do get in touch if there are any issues you feel we need to be focussing on. We will continue to give regular updates on the website.

 

Thank you for all your work at this time

 

Donald

25th April 2020

The journey thus far – blog from Verity Monaghan

The Journey Thus Far

The last two months have been a tumultuous time due to the outbreak of COVID-19 which has sent shock waves through the world and has had devastating effects on families and services and restricted the lives of many . However, on a more positive note it has also been a time for deep reflection and re-connection of what is truly important and to look at how we can be more creative in our approach to meet our human rights and needs.

Moreover, for those who do not know, this is my final week before I go off on maternity leave and so it feels like the right time to reflect on the fantastic progress of the Rights Made Real project during phase one of the programme and take a look at what the future of the project holds. Lastly I felt that this was a prime opportunity to look at human rights in light of the current climate and how the projects have used what they have learned during this project to not only maintain the safety of themselves and residents but also how they have used their skills, learning and knowledge in a creative way and continue to make rights real in spite of the ongoing crisis.

Phase one – making rights real

The first phase of the Rights Made Real in Care Homes Programme was funded in 2018 for 2 years and is due to finish at the end of July 2020. Moving forward, I am delighted to announce that there will be a phase two extension to the innovative rights-based work that has been happening to improve the lives of those with dementia living in a care home setting. Further information will be released soon about what this will look like in the coming months – so keep your eyes peeled.

The aim of the project overall, has been to demonstrate and embed a rights-based approach to dementia care and each of the seven groups of care homes have taken unique and innovative approaches in how they have achieved this. You can find more information on what each of the projects were involved in here. https://scottishcare.org/about-rightsmadereal/

There has been an abundance of learning as a result of the project so far. Tamsin MacBride from UWS has been pivotal in the role of collecting, connecting and evaluating this learning from the different care home sites using My Home Life, appreciative inquiry and action learning approaches. This learning was compounded in the “Away Days” in October where we brought the projects together for two days of reflection and future forming workshops and key speakers involved in human rights in the health and social care sector. This time of reflection has been invaluable in maintaining the momentum, readjusting the focus of the projects and reinvigorating the motivation to look at human rights in new ways.

One of the key quotes from those Away Days was the realisation that,

“Many paths can lead to the same destination.”

Some of the other general learning from the Away Days was around:

  • developing confidence around using human rights language
  • communication with staff and residents around what is important to them and how to meet needs in a rights based way.
  • addressing fears when it comes to human rights
  • translating human rights into practice and how to take the next step of moving from rights aware practice to rights based practice.

Phase two and human rights resource – a journey of discovery

Phase two of the project will seek to consolidate the learning from phase one and explore how this can be used to influence other care homes across Scotland. As the project comes to the end of phase one, there is a strong sense that the care homes have more they would like to learn. Phase two will go deeper than being rights aware to embed rights based approaches into practice.

So with that in mind, my role when working with the projects in 2020 has been to co-create a human rights resource with the projects to document the journey of discovery of the learning throughout the different organisations. There has been a clear transfer of learning throughout individual organisations, so we felt it was beneficial to share the journey in order to showcase how human rights are met through different tools and approaches. This resource will be available in the early Summer so please look out for more information on this.

 

Human rights – what do they look like in the face of a global pandemic?

From the beginning of 2020 as a result of the global pandemic, the world’s citizens have had their human rights inside and outside their home restricted and limited on many levels in order to protect public health and care homes are no exception. This project has highlighted how important and intrinsic the enjoyment of our human rights are in our everyday interactions and lives and this global pandemic is an example of how our fundamental human rights can be restricted in order to protect public health. It is useful to be able to understand what our human rights are and the principles of human rights so that decisions are being made proportionately, necessarily, and legally to protect people.

There have been many effects of restrictions specifically, with regards to social distancing for those with dementia in a care home. This has meant that a restriction to Article 5: The right to liberty has been applied. This can have a detrimental effect on someone with dementia who may not understand why they are not allowed to travel outside or to meet up with family or other residents and it is imperative that all decisions should be made to ensure the least restrictive option. Scottish Care CEO Donald has written a thorough and thought provoking article on the ethical choices that are having to be made as a result of COVID-19 – https://scottishcare.org/the-hardness-of-covid-ethical-choice/

All of Article 8 which is around the Right to private, family life and correspondence have been affected. This includes psychological integrity (mental and physical well-being), the development of ordinary family relationships and the enjoyment of current home all of which are affected through social distancing and the measures that the government have put into place. These restrictions have been especially difficult to navigate for those at the end of their life and those who have had to make the decision to attend hospital for life saving treatment.

However, as daunting as these measures sound, there are many examples of health and social care organisations taking steps to ensure the least restrictive option in a creative manner. This includes family visits from outside the care home and using Skype and FaceTime to connect with loved ones. Also, there has been an uptake of social activities electronically and connecting via technology. Scottish Care has also set up a technology device network where organisations and individuals can donate devices so that residents can maintain connection with their loved ones – https://scottishcare.org/techdevicenetwork/

It has been so encouraging to hear from the project leads that their time involved in the project has prepared them with the skills, knowledge and tools to be able to navigate this crisis using human rights, including buiding confidence in:

  • Balancing safety with maintaining connections with family and friends – using social media and technology to connect families when they cannot be together physically.
  • End of life care – ensuring the maintaining of connections at the end of a resident’s life.
  • Being able to challenge decisions that are not felt to be proportionate.
  • Harnessing creativity with regards to activities within the care homes.
  • Connecting with the local community – care homes are being supported by local community businesses through the supply of local produce, food, ice cream, milk etc.
  • Intergenerational work has continued with nursery age children sending in encouraging drawings to connect with residents.

 

My time in this role has sadly temporarily come to an end and therefore I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the projects for their ongoing dedication and commitment to improving the lives of those they support and for their incredible attitude even in the face of a global pandemic. Last but not least my colleagues at Scottish Care, who have been the continuous voice of the independent social care sector and have been very supportive throughout my time as policy and human rights worker in supporting the vision to make rights real for those in care homes.

 

Stay safe and stay tuned for more updates soon,

 

Verity Monaghan

Policy and Human Rights Project Worker

 

 

Scottish Government Parliamentary updates – 21 April

In Parliament on 21 April, the following updates and announcements were made by the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport in relation to social care and COVID-19.

Key points:

  • Guidance on isolation in care homes has been established for some time, requiring clear social distancing, active infection prevention and control and an end to communal activity.

 

  • NHS Directors of Public Health will undertake enhanced clinical leadership for care homes. This will see these NHS directors reporting on their initial assessment of how each home is faring in terms of infection control, staffing, training, social distancing and testing and the actions they are taking to quickly rectify any deficits they identify.

 

  • To supplement this new clinical oversight, a national rapid action group will be established – comprising the key partners with operational responsibility in this area, recognising that Care Homes are primarily operated by independent providers. This action group will receive daily updates and activate any local action needed to deal with issues as they emerge, as well as co-ordinate our wider package of support to the sector.

 

  • Care Inspectorate will have an enhanced role of assurance across the country, including greater powers to require reporting.

 

  • Testing for staff and residents is being expanded, including all symptomatic residents of care homes.  Covid-19 patients discharged from hospital to a care home should have given 2 negative tests before discharge. Other new admissions to care homes will be expected to be tested and isolated for 14 days in addition to the clear social distancing measures the guidance sets out.

 

  • Work is underway to get students and social care retirees and returners into the system as quickly as possible, and in supporting care homes to recruit additional staff. Employers now have direct access to the SSSC recruitment portal enabling quick and effective redeployment of care workers. Over 70 staff have already been matched for work in care homes or care at home under the new portal and more will be joining them in the coming weeks.

Scottish Care statement:

Scottish Care welcomes announcements by the Cabinet Secretary which provide additional clarity to care homes on testing and measures aimed at providing meaningful clinical support to social care providers and their workforce at this time of immense strain.

We are grateful for the ongoing collaboration between the Scottish Government and Scottish Care in recognising and addressing challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

What is of crucial importance, however, is that this collaboration with the social care sector is replicated at a local level. This is required of both national bodies and local leaders when engaging with care homes and homecare organisations around Coronavirus planning and protections.

We look forward to supporting local providers to build on their existing relationships and to developing new ones with primary care colleagues based on trust, mutual understanding and partnership.

Together at local level we are all determined to support the exceptional, dedicated and professional care workforce who are every day striving to protect and keep safe our residents and those who are supported in the community.

 

Changes to Care Inspectorate notifications

Please see updated information from the Care Inspectorate regarding notifications:

Changes to notifications

We have been working closely with Scottish Ministers and have agreed to update some of our notifications. We do appreciate these additional notifications will increase workload, but we are sure that this information will help us support you better and will give a clear picture to Scottish Government so it can understand the challenges, and plan and put in place the necessary and best response for care services. 

These changes include the following.

  • Outbreak notification – services will need to notify us of each individual case of COVID-19 in a person using the service.
  • Staffing Absences – a new weekly staff absence notification to be completed every Tuesday. This notification will ask about staff who are self-isolating, shielding and those who are not working due to stress related to COVID-19. We will also ask if there are staff in hospital.
  • Death of a staff member – this notification to be completed as soon as the service is made aware.

 These notifications will be live as of the evening of 17 April 2020.

https://www.careinspectorate.com/index.php/coronavirus-professionals 

Updated Guidance for social or community care and residential settings

Health Protection Scotland have updated their Guidance for  social or community care and residential settings.  As of Friday 17 April, this is Version 1.7.

Access Guidance here – https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/covid-19-information-and-guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings/ 

This guidance provides advice about COVID-19 (previously known as novel coronavirus 2019) for those working in social or community care and residential settings. 

A control measure tool for the control of incidents and outbreaks in Social or Community Care & Residential Settings, specific for COVID-19, is also available via the link. 

Further advice for staff – responsibilities to prevent spread of COVID-19, measures to protect them at increased risk of severe illness, and recommendations for vulnerable individuals as well as advice on testing to enable key workers to return to work – has also been summarised in a short document available in this page. ​