Responding to COVID-19
From 8 March: Visiting at Care Homes
Care home residents will be now able to receive visits indoors by a single, named individual. A single visitor can now meet with their relative or loved one inside a care home, and make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe.
Visitors will be able enter the care home for a regular indoor visit, sitting in the same room as their loved one with no screen between them. On arrival at the home each visitor will need to undergo a rapid lateral flow test. If the result is negative, the visit can go ahead. All visitors will be required to wear PPE on site and follow all infection prevention and control measures, and avoid close contact. We strongly advise against any physical contact in order to keep everyone safe and minimise the chance of accidentally passing on the virus.
Outdoor, pod and screen visits will be able to continue in line with the published guidance which has been in place during lockdown, along with contact via video and phone calls. Care homes will also be offering the 'essential care giver’ scheme where a family member or loved one provides care that is not easily provided by care home staff.
Visiting will be suspended during any outbreaks in individual homes to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
From 26 January: Opening Up Vaccination for the Social Care Workforce
From this week (26/01/21) frontline social care staff can now directly book an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Letters have been sent to care providers giving full details on how eligible staff within the Priority 1 and 2 groups can now make their own appointment. Social care workers can now book and select where to receive their vaccination from across the many different sites now operating across the borough and the South West London area.
On Tuesday 26 January all organisations with eligible workers should have received information on this directly from RBK Adults Commissioning [email protected], which included a letter of eligibility to distribute to all their eligible staff and booking links for the different vaccination sites in South West London.
If you think you have eligible staff in frontline roles but have not been contacted please contact us at adultscomm[email protected]
Priority groups are defined by the government and you can find details of priority groups here.
The social care workforce includes people doing a range of roles to support those with social care needs. The priority 2 eligible social care workforce has been further defined by the Local Government Association, the NHS and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and you find more detail here.
National Lockdown: from 6 January
Guidance has been updated to reflect the requirements of the National Lockdown that came into force on 6 January.
Restrictions, safeguards and guidance around visiting care homes remains unchanged since those announced for Tier 4 in December, whereby any visits have to be pre-arranged and conducted from behind substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak in the care home.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people should follow resumed shielding guidance and should not attend work, school, college or university. You should limit the time you spend outside the home and only go out for medical appointments, exercise, or if it is essential. If you require support, this can be provided through the Kingston Stronger Together Hub.
New Rapid Testing sites for carers, volunteers, frontline care workers, personal assistants, and for those in supported living or attending day services
If you’re NOT displaying any symptoms of COVID19, you can now get quickly tested at our Community Testing sites. These are;
- For anyone working directly with and/or supports adults, and who doesn’t have coronavirus symptoms
- Now open to people living in Supported Living settings
- Now open for people attending day services.
Why it’s important to be tested if you show NO symptoms
Evidence has shown that people infected with COVID-19 can have no symptoms and still transmit the virus to others without being aware. It is important that we take steps to reduce the risk of transmission by identifying those who may not know they have the virus and are not displaying any symptoms. They should continue to be tested along with colleagues and other carers to keep the risk of further infection at bay, as part of the coordinated response in tackling this pandemic.
The test takes about 10 minutes and provides a result in 30 minutes. Slots for each testing day need to be booked separately and people will need to travel in a COVID secure way to the test sites.
Current Community Testing sites offering Rapid Testing are:
- Kingston University - Main Building, Penrhyn Road, Kingston KT1 2EE (7 days Mon-Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat/Sun 12.30pm - 5pm ).
- Chessington Sports Centre - Garrison Lane, Chessington KT9 2JS (Weekdays 7.15am - 7.15pm, except Tues 12.15pm - 7.15pm).
- The Kingston Academy - Richmond Road, Kingston Upon Thames KT2 5PE (Weekdays Mon 1pm - 5pm, Tues - Fri 9.15am - 5pm).
- Richard Challoner School - Manor Drive North, New Malden KT3 5PE (7 days 9.15am - 5pm, except Weds 9.15am - 11.45am).
You can find local asymptomatic testing sites, and see which sites are busy, on the NHS mapping tool. Try to avoid busy testing sites.
To book your test
Contact the Adult Social Care Team by email: [email protected] who will send you a link through which you can book your test day and time.
The Tier 4 Restrictions include
Residents must stay at home except for specific purposes
- Providing care to someone in your bubble, or acting as an approved carer is permissible and is allowed for within the exemptions of the Government guidance.
You must not leave your home to travel unless for work, education, medical reasons - including to get a COVID-19 test, or other legally permitted reasons
- You can travel if you are providing care to a person in another location, or ensuring that someone in your care receives the necessary support, or requires medical attention.
You are only allowed to meet one other person from outside of your household in an outdoor public space
- If providing care to another, or numerous residents please maintain extra care vigilance when meeting friends and family - observing social distancing and wearing a face covering where necessary.
No overnight stays outside your household or support bubble
- If you are part of a support bubble for a family member or friend you can stay overnight at their house. The government guidance states that you are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you are visiting your support bubble.
You must not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons.
- The guidance states that you can travel outside of Tier 4 to visit or stay overnight with your support bubble. For more information on support bubbles you can check the government guidance
Clinically and extremely vulnerable people within Tier 4, are advised to follow the latest updated guidance on shielding. To protect themselves and lower the risk of infection, the guidance advises in relation to work, education, shopping, travel, socialising, medicines, care and support.
Family and Carers
- Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed.You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19 to find out how visits should be conducted.Visiting care homes during COVID-19 - GOV.UK
- Care homes have access to lateral flow testing which can support in visitation. This test provides a faster result on whether the person tested is COVID-19 Positive or negative. Please be aware however, as with all tests, this is not 100% accurate and the visitor will have to wear full PPE upon visiting the resident even if the result is negative for COVID-19
- You are advised to speak with the care home. Guidance states that visiting can only be permitted if the meeting is outside or behind substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Visits are permissible if someone is at the end of their life.
- You can visit family member/friends in their own home if you are supporting them or caring for them, but you are advised to follow the key steps and precautions set out within the guidance, ensuring both your own safety and the person you are caring for.
- If you are part of a support bubble for your family member or friend the guidance states that you are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you are visiting your support bubble
- If you are part of a support bubble for your family member or friend the guidance states that you can travel outside of Tier 4 to visit or stay overnight with your support bubble
- If your family member/friend was supposed to stay with you over Christmas and you cancelled their care visits during this time speak to the provider who provides the care and they will rearrange for care to be provided.
Vaccination against Covid-19
The NHS is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus and rolling out to health and social care workers across Priority Groups 1 and 2.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. From 26 January, frontline health and social workers defined within the Priority 1 and 2 groups have been contacted by RBK Adult Social Care Commissioning through their employers, allowing them to book their appointment to receive the vaccine. The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. If your job role does not fall within Priority Groups 1 or 2 please wait to be contacted to let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
At this time, the vaccine is being rolled out and increasingly offered at an ever increasing number of locations including hospitals and dedicated vaccination sites.
The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). For more information visit the NHS England website.
Advice for care providers and care professional
With the announcement of London entering Tier 4, we have written to all our care providers providing latest updates on guidance, support, testing and vaccination.
Social Care Workers Covid-19 Vaccine Q&A
London being in Tier 4 brings added restrictions to the daily lives of the people living and working in the borough. Information available at on the government website regarding Tier 4 visits to care homes states. Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.
Close-contact indoor visits supported by testing, which are allowed in Tiers 1-3, will not be allowed in Tier 4. This guidance will be updated shortly clarifying how visits in Tier 4 should be conducted.’
- Home Care Providers
- Voluntary Sector Service Providers
- Day Services Providers
- Supported Living Providers
Please ensure you have correct and sufficient supplies of PPE and that your staff are using it correctly, particularly in light of the new variant of the virus that has been identified. Make sure you’re maintaining the recommended safety standards in your day-to-day approaches in line with the latest insights and advice shared in the updated guidance.