CARDIFF COUNCIL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) GUIDANCE

Information and answers to frequently asked questions for Direct Payment users

In these unprecedented and changing times, we will be keeping this page up-to-date with information and guidance to assist both Direct Payment users and Personal Assistants (PAs). We thank you for your continued co-operation and support during these challenging times. 

This information has been put together to help answer some of the most common questions we are receiving.

This is based on information as of 15th June 2021 and may be updated several times in the coming days and weeks. (Updated Sections: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)).

The information covered is:

Regular Rapid Lateral Flow Testing

NHS and Social Care Financial Recognition Scheme

Urgent Appeal for Care Workers

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Enhancement Scheme

Free NHS Flu Vaccine for Personal Assistants

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Carer’s Bonus - Social Care Workforce Special Payment Scheme

Clarity of Social Distancing, Shielding and Self-Isolation

Covid-19 Vaccine

General Resources

Current Care Arrangements

Risk Assessment Tools

Good Hygiene Practices

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

COVID-19 Symptom Tracker

COVID-19 Testing

Letter to Carers from the Welsh Government

Essential/Key Worker Travel Document

Key worker Childcare Support

Social Care Worker Card

Parking Permits

Frequently Asked Questions

Regular Rapid Lateral Flow Testing

You can get regular rapid lateral flow tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

You should do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading. 

Asymptomatic Testing Guidance for Direct Payments/Personal Assistant Staff

Covid 19 Self Test Instructions

Tests can now be obtained at the same time as the PPE collections, click here for further info.

NHS and Social Care Financial Recognition Scheme

The scheme has been introduced by Welsh Government to recognise and reward the hard work and commitment of social care staff including Personal Assistants (PA’s) who have provided essential care to our most vulnerable citizens during the most challenging period of the Covid-19 pandemic. Welsh Ministers wish to reward health and social care workers (including PA’s) for their commitment and tireless efforts in these most challenging of circumstances. Payment is a one-off payment of £735 for eligible full time or part time staff which can either be claimed in a lump sum or five monthly instalments. The payment will be subject to deductions for income tax, national insurance. Click here for further information and how to apply.

Urgent Appeal for Care Workers

Do you have any time you can offer on top of your current working hours? Cardiff Council is urgently appealing for care workers to help support elderly and vulnerable people in Cardiff. Training and support provided. Excellent council rates of pay with enhanced payments for bank holiday and evening/weekend. Register your interest now here.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Enhancement Scheme

The Welsh Government have introduced a scheme that ensures PAs will receive full pay when they take time off work when they have symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested positive for COVID-19 or because they need to self-isolate. This scheme applies to PAs who would normally only get statutory sick pay (SSP) when absent or are not eligible for SSP. Please click here for further details.

Free NHS Flu Vaccine for Personal Assistants

PAs are recommended to have annual vaccination to protect themselves and those in their care. Vaccinating also helps reduce the level of sickness absences and contributes to keeping the NHS and care services running. With PAs having regular client contact they are eligible for a free NHS FLU vaccine at a community pharmacy as shown in these video clips https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1oBZVD1Qg01qaOOxEZpBclyZp-3s3h9_r

Visit the CAVUHB website here https://cavuhb.nhs.wales/our-services/community-pharmacies/ to search for your nearest community pharmacy.

As confirmation of your eligibility status, you will need to take your Key Worker letter (as emailed to you previously on behalf of Cardiff Council) together with ID bearing your name and photo to the pharmacy. If you require a Key Worker letter, please complete the request form located in the Essential/Key Worker Travel Document section below.

It is important to protect ourselves and those we care for, let’s beat flu together and keep Wales safe.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

A Welsh Government-funded employee assistance programme, (EAP) will be in place from 4 December, offering a range of well-being support to those employed in the social care workforce in the private and voluntary sectors in Wales, including Personal Assistants. The EAP will be offered by CareFirst who employ professionally qualified counsellors and information specialists. They are experienced in helping people deal with all kinds of practical and emotional issues related to well-being, family matters, relationships, debt management, the workplace, and much more.

Please read the leaflet and see the poster for more information: click here for the leaflet – click here for the poster.

Carer’s Bonus - Social Care Workforce Special Payment Scheme

The Welsh Government have introduced a scheme which recognises and rewards those who have worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reward is a one-off payment of £500 which is subject to tax and National Insurance. Please click here for further details.

Clarity of Self-Isolation, Shielding and Social Distancing

Self Isolation

The self-isolation period is 10 days.

Self-isolation advice is intended for:

  • people who have received a positive test result for COVID-19
  • people with symptoms of COVID-19 who are waiting for a test result, or who have not been tested and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home for the appropriate self-isolation period (further details below)
  • people living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19 or who has received a positive test result for COVID-19
  • people of all ages, including children

People must self-isolate and not go to work, if they have one or more of the most important symptoms of COVID-19. These are a: 

  • new continuous cough - this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual,
  • high temperature (above 37.8 °C) - where you feel hot to touch on your chest or back,
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you have noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

If you are a PA, as a key worker, you should seek a COVID-19 test immediately. PAs will be tested through the key worker testing arrangements - details are available in the COVID-19 Testing section below.

Anyone with a suspected COVID-19 should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days. Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on-hold to 111.  111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you are sick and must self-isolate. You should stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started. After 10 days:

  • If there is no high temperature, you no longer need to self-isolate.
  • If there remains a high temperature, you should continue to self-isolate until your temperature returns to normal.
  • A cough and loss of smell or taste can last for several weeks after the infection has gone but this does not require continuation of self-isolation after 10 days.

Click here for Self-isolation: stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus

PAs may be entitled to apply for the SSP Enhancement Scheme or Self-Isolation Support Scheme during this period. Details are available in the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Enhancement Scheme section above.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is about limiting face-to-face interactions. You should:

  • Always stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others who are not part of your household or extended household, whether indoors or outdoors
  • Always wear a face covering in indoor public places, on public transport, or in other indoor places if keeping 2 metres away from others is not possible.
  • Work from home where possible
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport

If you employ a Personal Assistant (PA) you are required to take all reasonable measures to ensure social distancing where possible. Please read this guidance on social distancing which contains a template Risk Assessment – click here.  

Full guidance on social distancing can be found here.

Shielding

Some conditions put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and these are called ‘extremely vulnerable’ people. If you fall within this category, you should take more stringent measures (‘shielding’) and you will receive a letter from the government advising you to shield. This means staying in your home, not going out at all whether for shopping, leisure or medicine. Do not have any visitors, except people who provide you with essential care. Social distancing should also be carried out where possible. Guidance and criteria for ‘extremely vulnerable’ can be found here, answers to frequently answers questions here and helpful guides here.

Importance guidance for care workers on delivering care to individuals who are shielding or where a member of the individual’s household is shielding can be found here.

Guidance on Personal Assistants Returning From Shielding (Wales)

Covid-19 Vaccine

The government advice is that when your priority group is reached eligible for the vaccine, you’ll be invited to a dedicated clinic. To help the NHS, please wait to be invited. There will be no need to apply for or ask GPs or pharmacists for the vaccination, as invitation will be done automatically. Please do not call your surgery or hospital.

Details of the vaccination can be obtained via your employer, please ask them to contact their advisor at Dewis to obtain this information.

The groups to be prioritised to receive a COVID-19 vaccine first, are decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) at a UK level. This is based on knowledge around who is most at risk from COVID-19. Full details are available here.

General Resources

For general advice and links to government resources - click here

Current Care Arrangements

Assuming staff are fit and willing to attend work, they should carry on fulfilling their duties. It is essential that they take very seriously any new health and safety procedures you implement. However, to prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19 Cardiff Council recommends that only essential personal care/support and social respite care calls are carried out.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to those employed as a PA which needs to be used in line with our guidance (available here).  An initial risk assessment should also take place by phone prior to entering the premises or at 2 metres social distance on entering to establish whether full PPE is required. Social distancing of 2 metres should be practiced whenever possible throughout the visit.

Although routine non-essential visits are not recommended during these challenging times, these visits could be used to enable the carer to collect any shopping or medication (by themself) whilst maintaining social distancing. Non-essential social care calls could in some cases be carried out from the PA’s home e.g. by telephone or video call. Those providing essential respite calls for informal carers should still visit and could distract or entertain the care recipient while the informal carer has a break in another room, garden or takes daily exercise. For those employing PAs, where any normal hours are not worked payment will be dependent upon the reason they were unable to be worked (see Frequently Asked Questions below). Please ensure all PA hours are noted appropriately on submission to payroll.

Risk Assessment Tools

As an employer it is important to carry out risk assessments. A risk assessment is a key part of understanding health and safety challenges in the workplace; and conducting one is also essential for demonstrating a commitment to compliance with Health & Safety law. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but a disciplined approach will make it much easier to conduct your assessment. It will also ensure that the results are effective and relevant.

There a different types of risk assessments covering different topics. To comply with Health & Safety law we recommend that you complete all of the risk assessments below:

  • Risk Assessment Tool for PAs Returning to Work (and in Work). This is an excellent risk assessment, which enables you to consider many situations and have an honest conversation with your PAs about the risks and how to mitigate them. It covers PPE, personal hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, food preparation and feeding, personal care, social distancing, shopping, going out, travelling, and visitors. Click here.
  • The All Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool. This tool has been introduced to the NHS and social care by the Welsh Government. It is a two-stage risk assessment, which is suitable for use for everybody. It has been designed to be a sensitive and supportive process. The PA can complete the self-assessment and then have a supportive and structured conversation with their employer to discuss their level of risk to put in place actions to ensure they are protected as far as possible. These may include additional protection, changing working practices or working from home. Click here
  • Social Distancing Risk Assessment. For those employees who are required to provide essential care during this challenging time, there is a requirement to maintain 2 metre social distancing in work. In order to assist in assessing the controls required to safeguard the health of your staff, the employer should complete the Social Distancing Risk Assessment available here

 Good Hygiene Practices

All care workers coming to an individual’s home should wash their hands and exposed forearms upon arrival and leaving an individual’s house, and often while they are there. They should use soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. The appropriate hand washing technique is available here.

Additionally, they should:

  1. Minimise the time they spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas with the individual and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
  2. Aim to keep 2 metres away from the individual, if this is feasible.
  3. Make sure they use separate towels from the individual for hand-hygiene purposes.
  4. Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands) when they cough or sneeze and the wash their hands immediately.
  5. Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash hands afterwards.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.
  7. Not visit or provide care if they are unwell.

Where PAs support individuals with laundry:

  • Do not shake laundry (minimises the likelihood of dispersing virus into the air)
  • Items should be washed as normal, in accordance with manufacturer instructions
  • Dirty laundry that has been in contact with a symptomatic/confirmed COVID-19 case can be washed with other people’s items
  • Items heavily soiled with bodily fluids such as vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washes would be disposed of, with the owner’s consent. All soiled items should be placed in rubbish bags and tied securely. This can be put out for general waste collection but should not be put until at least 72 hours after the last item was added.

More information on protecting extremely vulnerable (shielding) people is available here and here.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Cardiff Council is committed to safeguarding PAs and extremely vulnerable people against the risk from potential exposure to COVID-19. We recommend that only essential care/support calls are carried out with appropriate use of PPE and social distancing measures (ensuring 2 metre/6 feet distancing where possible). Routine non-essential visits are not recommended and should be restricted.

PPE will be provided free of charge by Cardiff Council to those delivering these essential care calls. Please read the PPE for Essential Services guidance here. It is important that PPE is used in line with this guidance to ensure use of the correct type of PPE for the visit and that PPE is maintained and disposed of correctly. A video demonstrating how to put on and remove PPE is available here and for those who wear glasses, please view this video to avoid glasses fogging

Lateral flow testing will also be provided free of charge and you can get regular rapid lateral flow tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. You should do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading. 

Asymptomatic Testing Guidance for Direct Payments/Personal Assistant Staff

Covid 19 Self Test Instructions

To request your COVID-19 PPE packs and lateral flow tests, please click here to complete the request form. For safety reasons, distribution will be carefully managed and Dewis CIL will contact the PA regarding these arrangements.

If you are caring for an individual who is symptomatic or confirmed to have COVID-19 and you require emergency additional PPE, please contact Dewis CIL on 02922 40 50 60 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4.30pm).

COVID-19 Symptom Tracker

It is clear that data and intelligence is key in the country’s efforts to tackle the pandemic. A number of organisations, including the Welsh Government and NHS Wales, are supporting the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker App that has been developed by Kings College London and healthcare science partners. Please download the app (here) and log daily symptoms to help build a clearer picture of how the virus is affecting people. The app is for everyone, not just those who are experiencing symptoms. It only takes a few seconds of your time each day. Over 38,000 people in Wales have already signed up to the app, but we need as many as possible to make the data most useful.  

COVID-19 Testing

Testing is available for Personal Assistants (PAs) who believe they have symptoms of COVID-19. Testing takes place at Cardiff City stadium car pack (Leckwith) CF11 8AZ.  You MUST have access to a vehicle to attend a mobile testing appointment, and remain in the vehicle for the duration of the test. Please contact Dewis CIL on 02922 40 50 60 to request a test. You will need to provide the following details to Dewis CIL:

·       Name of PA to be tested

·       PA’s address

·       PA’s date of birth

·       PA’s car registration number

·       PA’s email address

·       PA’s mobile number - The NHS are likely to contact you by telephone to confirm a test appointment, please ensure any calls to the mobile number provided are answered, NHS caller ID is likely to be withheld.

·       PA’s reason for referral i.e. symptoms and the date of onset of symptoms

Tests can be arranged within 24-48 hours. You will receive a text message informing you of the result within 48 hours.

Please note that requests for testing of care recipients should be directed to the care recipient’s social worker.

Letter to Carers from the Welsh Government

The Minister and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services recognises the all-important care carers deliver to people of all ages across Wales. Please click here to read their letter.

Essential/Key Worker Travel Document

Personal Assistants are classed as essential/key workers and need to move freely around Cardiff to provide vital care to our vulnerable people. Travel documents are currently being prepared in readiness to be emailed to all Personal Assistants.

Travel documents have been sent to all PA's with an email on file. If you have not already received your letter via email, you can request your key worker letter via the form at this link: Click Here

Key worker Childcare Support

Cardiff Council have released an update on Keyworker childcare support, available from their Newsroom at https://www.cardiffnewsroom.co.uk/releases/c25/23505.html

If your employer deems your role to be essential, that critical parts of your role cannot be performed from home and you have no safe alternative childcare available to you, then childcare support can be applied for. This provision is only for children who absolutely need to attend. Eligibility Criteria and the application form can be found at http://www.cardiff.gov.uk/keyworkerchildcare

Social Care Worker Card

Social Care Wales have produced a card that identifies social care workers and confirms they are key workers in fighting the current pandemic. It is not a registration card. Benefits of the care include priority shopping in selected stores. It is hoped that the card will provide social care workers with useful benefits to help make things a little easier at a time when so much is being expected of them. Further details can be found here. To request your card, please click here to complete the request form and instructions will be emailed to you. Please make sure you show your social care worker card, along with a form of photo ID, if required.

Parking Permit

If you are a Personal Assistant who is currently experiencing parking difficulties when at work during this COVID-19 outbreak, please contact Dewis CIL on 02922 40 50 60 to request your free parking permit. The permit is not intended to replace any existing permit that you have already been issued and are using for COVID-19 parking concessions.

The British Parking Association (BPA) has launched an online search site (www.nhs-freeparking.co.uk) which enables you to search for parking locations and see what care workers need to do to show eligibility. This will help identify any private car parks and driveways who have agreed to offer the same concessions, some will require pre-registration which the site will inform you about. 

Frequently Asked Questions.

Please click here for Cardiff Council’s answers to FAQs. Employers can also view comprehensive guidance from Mark Bates Ltd, employer’s liability insurance provider here

Here you will find useful information and links around the Direct Payment Scheme in Cardiff.

If you are personal assistant working for a direct payment service user in Cardiff this handbook will provide you with a summary of working conditions and policies affecting your employment.

The Employer Toolkit below is designed to help you support your Personal Assistants to gain the skills they need to carry out their roles effectively. It also aims to assist you with your responsibilities as an employer to support your Personal Assistants’ learning and personal development.

Training:

Training courses are available for Personal Assistants who are looking to enhance their career in the caring profession.

Cardiff Council can provide free learning resources, eg.

  • Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA)
  • Manual Handling
  • First Aid

Please speak to your employer if you wish to attend a training course.

Access to the free learning pool can be accessed via the link below:

http://cardiff.learningpool.com

This link will provide you with details of the training courses available and directions on how you can enroll.

Useful Links:

Local Authority

Cardiff

Website: www.cardiff.gov.uk

Direct Payments Web Page

Social Services Direct Payments Team

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 02920 873617

  

Social Care Workforce Development Partnerships

Cardiff Council

E-mail: [email protected]

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)

Aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment

relations. They help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance.

Free advice is available from:

www.acas.org.uk

Telephone 08457 47 47 47

Minicom 08456 06 16 00

0300 3033444

Disability Wales provide useful information about rights, social model of disability and independent living

www.disabilitywales.org

Telephone: 029 20887325

Learn from Learning

A free comparison website providing information about a range of learning available. It includes an online evaluation tool to help you manage your learning and make sure you are getting the best value for money.

www.learnfromlearning.co.uk

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) improves the lives of people who use care services by sharing knowledge about what works. They have a range of information, guides, e learning material and films on a variety of useful topics.

www.scie.org.uk

Telephone: 020 7535 0900

Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)

www.wcva.org.uk

Telephone: 0800 2888 329

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

www.gov.uk

Stay in the UK after it leaves the EU ('settled status'): step by step

EU Settlement Scheme: Employer Toolkit

Telephone: 0300 1237 379