Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

As care and nursing homes are a vital part of the frontline response to the coronavirus pandemic, supporting and protecting the NHS, we need to continue to care for people with symptoms safely.

We know that this is a very worrying time for care home residents, their families and carers, as well as the staff in our homes.

The council is strictly following Government and Public Health England infection control guidance in its care and nursing homes, as well as guidance around admitting people to care homes from hospital. We are also following national guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Visiting people in care homes

We know that keeping in touch with loved ones in care homes is important. To protect residents and staff we have suspended visits to care homes other than in exceptional circumstances, which includes end of life care.

There are lots of other ways to stay in touch with loved ones, including over the phone or internet. Our care home teams will work with you to find a way to help you stay in touch.

Frequently asked questions

What are you doing to manage the spread of infections in care homes?

The safety and wellbeing of residents in our care and nursing home is of paramount importance to us.

Our care and nursing homes are following Government and PHE guidance to maintain infection control.

Steps we are taking include:

  • ensuring social distancing wherever possible
  • caring for people in isolation for 14 days when they are admitted to the home
  • stopping external visitors
  • using appropriate PPE
  • increasing our cleaning regime.

Residents in our care and nursing homes are monitored carefully at least twice daily, and observed by staff, to ensure any symptoms of coronavirus are identified quickly. We also monitor our staff for symptoms. 

Infection control champions have been appointed for each home, supported by infection control nurses from NHS Solent. We are also supported by clinicians, including GPs, who provide advice and guidance on appropriate care for residents who are symptomatic.

What do you do when a resident shows symptoms?

Where residents have symptoms, they are cared for in isolation in their rooms to prevent the infection from spreading to other residents and staff.

The staff caring for them put additional measures in place, including using extra PPE.

Infection control champions have been appointed for each home, supported by infection control nurses from NHS Solent. We are also supported by clinicians, including GPs, who provide advice and guidance on appropriate care for residents who are symptomatic.

Staff are well trained in caring for people with dementia and cognitive impairment who may be less able to report symptoms because of communication difficulties, and they are therefore alert to the presence of signs as well as symptoms of the virus.

Why are you still accepting admissions from hospital?

The discharge of people who no longer need acute hospital care during the coronavirus pandemic is specified in Government guidance, which we are following.

The Government is clear that people who not need acute hospital care must be discharged within three hours, to reduce pressure on the NHS. You can read the guidance here

Some people who are admitted to our homes may have coronavirus. They sometimes have symptoms, and sometimes do not. All of these patients are being safely cared for in our care homes as we are following the national guidance, which you can read here.

Residents may also be admitted to a care home from a home setting. 

How are you supporting families and carers during this time?

We know this is an extremely difficult time for families, and we are making sure they are offered appropriate support. This includes calling families and carers with regular updates on how their loved ones are doing, as well as having dedicated wellbeing staff available to provide wellbeing support for families and carers.

We also make sure residents have the opportunity to call or video call their families and carers so they can stay connected while visiting in person isn’t possible.

How are you supporting care home staff?

Staff working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic are providing a vital service to our residents in challenging circumstances. Their safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance.

Dedicated wellbeing champions are in place for each council-run home so there is someone on hand for staff to contact for support.

Infection control champions have been appointed for each home, supported by infection control nurses from NHS Solent. Our staff are also supported by clinicians, including GPs, who provide advice and guidance on how best to care for residents with symptoms.

Recognising the demands created by the pandemic, we are working to put additional staff in place, over and above the usual establishment of staff in each setting.

Do you have enough personal protective equipment (PPE)?

We know the availability of PPE has been a concern. Please be reassured, we have enough of the correct PPE for all staff in our units. The PPE stocks are being monitored and we have a process in place to make sure the stock goes where it is needed most.

Are you testing people in care homes who show symptoms of coronavirus?

Testing of suspected cases of coronavirus only happens when either someone is admitted to hospital or Public Health England (PHE) recommends testing. PHE only recommends testing if it will alter the way a person is cared for. In line with PHE guidance, any residents showing symptoms of coronavirus are cared for as though they have the virus.

Are care home staff being tested?

Coronavirus testing for social care staff is essential to support our care and nursing homes, and to enable staff who are self-isolating to return to work. National testing is being rolled out and we have made arrangements to access this for care workers.

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Personal protective equipment (PPE)

We are providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to our staff providing personal care to residents, this includes adult social care, children social care, substance misuse or homeless settings. This is to protect them and those they work with.

We have received our allocation of PPE from the national supply, and also have our own supply chain in place. We will also be using our stock to give an emergency support line to care providers in the city who have issues with their supply chains or suddenly need more.

We are following the national guidance for use of PPE to make sure the stock is properly allocated and only goes to staff who need it.

Support for care homes

As part of the Government's Adult Social Care action plan first published in April 2020, the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whatley MP, asked local authorities to provide an update about how we are supporting local care homes. 

Read our response here.

View the care home support template here.