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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have captured some of your most frequently asked questions for care providers and staff across Wales.

We understand and appreciate the difficulty of the current situation and the impact it is having on many care providers and staff across Wales. We hope the FAQs below answer some of your questions, and we will be updating these regularly as the situation progresses.

General questions

Where can providers find the latest guidance and information on COVID-19?

Providers are encouraged to visit the Public Health Wales website for the latest information. We also encourage you to visit the coronavirus (COVID-19) area of our website, as it holds useful links and information.

Notifications

What COVID-19 notifications are required by CIW?

You should notify CIW of confirmed cases of COVID-19 of people using the service, and members of staff (and in the case of childminders, other family members living at the premises). 

Domiciliary Support Services employing large numbers of staff can notify us about multiple members of staff in a single notification. Such notifications must not be less frequently than weekly. We would expect to be informed immediately of issues regarding the quality of the care provided or risks to people receiving the service.

Please use CIW Online to notify us and report as you would any infectious disease. If your childcare and play service (including childminders) is now closed please inform us, the relevant notification can be found under “Leadership and Management” on CIW Online. You must also notify Public Health Wales.

More information can be found on the Public Health Wales website.

What changes have been made to the death of a service user notification and why?

We have amended the online form for notifying us about the death of a service user to include coronavirus (COVID-19) as a cause of death.

We have made this change to enable us to provide more accurate summarised data on deaths of people using social care services related to COVID -19.

Staffing

Can family members or volunteers help to provide care?

We would expect providers to have carried out appropriate checks, and be confident the family members or volunteers can carry out the tasks allocated to them safely. We also expect family members and volunteers to be appropriately supervised.

How can we socially distance when at work?

The well-being of staff is critical but where a service is responsible for looking after or working with children or vulnerable adults, it would not be reasonable to institute rigid physical distancing. The safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults should not be compromised. However, where possible staff should maintain 2m distance from each other e.g. during breaks.

Guidance for Taking reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Specific questions relating to those care services registered under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act (RISCA)

Do Responsible Individual's (RI) visits and oversight need to continue?

It is especially important for RIs to maintain oversight of services during this difficult period.  However, we do not want an RI visit to increase the risk to people using the service and its staff.  We encourage RIs to consider different ways of maintaining oversight.  

There is pressure to accept new admissions to care homes to create capacity in hospitals. Do the requirements under regulation 14: Suitability of a service still apply in this time of emergency?

Yes, the requirement under regulation 14 still applies. A provider must be satisfied they can meet a person’s needs before agreeing to provide the service. This decision must take into account the new resident’s needs, existing residents’ needs as well as the provider’s ability to meet those needs within the resources and facilities they have available. 
In these exceptional times, the way the provider makes that determination may change. For example, this could include a discussion with a trusted assessor to gather information about the person’s needs, any assessments undertaken by health, risks and the person’s wishes and feelings. The provider would then make their decision based on this discussion, which might be helpful to record. 

Updated guidance on hospital discharge was published on 29 April which sets out how people should be safely discharged from hospital.

On 7 May PHW also issued Guidance to Prevent COVID-19 Among Care Home Residents and Manage Cases & Outbreaks in Residential Care Settings In Wales This was updated on 4 August.

Can we allow families to visit when a person who lives in a care home is at the end of their life?

Where it is safe to do, next of kin should be supported to visit their family member, one at a time, at the end of life. It is important to follow public health guidance on social distancing and good infection control with the provision of  PPE if required.

Should care staff now be wearing PPE to care for people?

PHW advice should be followed.  As it is now considered there is sustained community transmission across the UK, the guidance was updated on 12 April. It contains enhanced PPE recommendations for a wide range of social care contexts. PPE should be used as set out Table 4 of PHW guidance sets out what used. Additional guidance on how to work safely in care homes can be found on the UK Government website.

What do we do if we cannot obtain sufficient staff to safely meet people's needs?

It is important to have a business continuity plan in place; if having explored your options, you are worried about maintaining safe staffing levels, you should alert the local authority (and health board if they also commission care) as early as possible. You should also notify CIW using online notification and can also phone for advice.

Do I have to get staff and people living in the care home tested for COVID-19?

Testing is an important way of managing the spread of COVID-19. Providers should follow Welsh Government guidance and facilitate testing, even where people are asymptomatic. The safety and well-being of people must come first. 

No blanket decisions should be made on behalf of people. If people do not have the capacity, individual best interest decisions should be made in line with the Mental Capacity Act. Additional guidance for best interest decisions on the Mental Capacity Act can be found on the Social Care Institute for Excellence website.

Should care homes admit someone new to the home when they have had confirmed cases?

PHW advice is the care home should be free from COVID-19 for 28 days before admitting people. Please read the guidance to Prevent COVID-19 Among Care Home Residents for detail.

Can families now visit people living in care homes or supported living?

Do I have to allow indoor visits?

We strongly encourage care home providers to make every effort to enable indoor visits to take place in line with Welsh Government guidance. Where a decision is made not to do this, the risk assessments and rationale should be clearly documented and be discussed with people living at the service and their families. Blanket decisions should not be made.

Visits in exceptional circumstances should also be supported, this may include where people have cognitive impairment as well as people at the end of life.

Can I visit my loved one who is living in a care home if local lock down is imposed?

Where local lock down restrictions are imposed, local authorities and individual providers may make decisions to temporarily suspend visiting. Imposing restrictions on both indoor and outdoor care home visiting has significant impacts on the well-being of residents, therefore any decision will be carefully balanced between the protecting those living in care homes from infection, and ensuring their continued wellbeing.  Public Health Wales are offering expert advice based on the specific situation in the local area.

In exceptional circumstances, for example end of life situations, in areas where local restrictions have been imposed, all visits to care homes in these circumstances will continue to be permitted in all areas, regardless of local lockdown arrangements and the national guidance on supporting safe visits in exceptional circumstances continues to apply in these situations.

Specific questions relating childcare and play services

First aid courses have all been cancelled and so I’m worried I cannot renew my certificate.

We recognise these things will happen. We would expect you to do it as soon as courses resume.

As a childminder if I develop coronavirus and temporarily stop minding, can I do a deep clean and then reopen after self isolating?

If you or someone in your household develop symptoms at any time, you should follow the latest Public Health Wales guidance and self-isolate for the recommended time period. You should inform the parents of the children you mind. When the isolation period comes to an end, providing that everyone within the household is then well, there is nothing to prevent you from starting to mind children again. 

If your childcare and play service (including childminders) is now closed or has reopened please inform us, the relevant notification can be found under “Leadership and Management” on CIW Online.

 

What are my options if I do not want to run my service at the moment?

It is important to ensure you take the course of action most suited to your circumstances. Below is a list of options available via your CIW Online account:
Cancellation - you should only choose this option if you have decided that you no longer wish to be registered and have no intention of continuing to run your service in the future. You can do this by using your CIW Online account to apply for a variation to ‘Remove a Service’. Should you want to start operating again in the future, you will need to apply for registration.
Suspension - You should use this CIW Online notification if you wish to stop running your service for a set period of time, for example, a childminder taking maternity leave, or a daycare service closing for repairs to the premises. You will need to enter the date from which you want to suspend your service and approximate end date for the suspension. You will then be able to extend the suspension or request to lift the suspension through CIW Online.
Temporary Closure due to COVID-19 - This CIW Online notification should be used to inform CIW if your service is closing temporarily as a result of COVID-19. Once you are ready to re-open your service, you must inform us via CIW Online.

For more information visit the coronavirus information area of our website. Additional questions received by us between March – June 2020 can be found from the downloads section below. If you have any questions regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) not currently included on this page please get in touch with us.

Always check the Public Health Wales website and the Welsh Government’s coronavirus information area for the latest guidance.

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