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Support plan for care homes unveiled

29 May 2020

Support to help keep care home residents and staff safe and manage any outbreak of Covid-19 has been unveiled by the county council and the NHS.

A multi-agency team has been set up to help manage any outbreak of Covid-19 and help care providers access testing and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Government has required councils to draw up a Care Home Support Plan, as part of its £600 million support for the care sector. Norfolk’s share is £12.38 million. So far, there have been 113 cases at Norfolk care homes, which represents around 32 per cent. The regional average is 42 per cent.

Councillor Bill Borrett, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and chair of Norfolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This new money will go straight to care homes to support them, as we recognise that they are the new frontline of efforts to tackle Covid-19.

“We’re working to support care providers and their residents and staff jointly with the NHS. We have a virtual incident room, which enables us to respond quickly to prevent or manage outbreaks and help providers to access testing and PPE.”

The Chief Nurse of NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, Cath Byford, said: “We have offered support and training to care providers for a long time and we are enhancing that in the light of Covid-19, such as additional infection control training to roll out to staff.

“We also have teams of community staff carrying out testing in care homes across Norfolk and Waveney.”

Norfolk Care Association (NorCA) Director, Christine Futter, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with both Norfolk County Council and NHS partners to ensure the views of adult social care providers inform the local response to the pandemic.

“This package is wide ranging and reflects the need for immediate action as well as bespoke responses to individual provider needs. The focus here is on care homes but we are mindful of the amazing work being done by all social care providers and will continue to raise the need for appropriate support across the entire social care system.”

The multi-agency team provides support to Norfolk care homes. Care providers who run homes are encouraged to call the virtual incident room directly on 01603 257231 or email at nwccg.cpir@nhs.net if they have any questions or concerns relating to Covid-19. Staff can also contact the team, if they have any concerns.

The range of support on offer includes:

  • Specialist support and guidance to manage any outbreak
  • Supporting care providers to access appropriate and timely testing for all residents and staff whether through the national online portal or the local testing service
  • Training and advice on infection control and use of PPE
  • Staging a multi-disciplinary review to establish the specialist advice and guidance they need

Testing at care homes is being prioritised for those with residents aged over 65, those with 50 or more beds and those that are near to areas with known outbreaks of coronavirus.

If a care home believes they may have an outbreak, they should call the health protection team at Public Health England (0300 3038537), who will log their notification and conduct an initial risk assessment. The case will then be passed on to the local incident room, which will arrange local testing and provide local testing and ongoing support.

Relatives of care home residents who have concerns should contact the home in the first instance.

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