Shropshire Council

Coronavirus-related FAQs

How do I keep up to date with national guidance and information as it changes regularly?

To sign up to receive national alerts and updates regarding coronavirus visit the Gov.UK website.

Where can I find information from our local councils?

The councils will be hosting information for care providers, public and other businesses on their websites available here:

Where do I find out about staff returning from travel abroad?

For queries regarding staff returning from holidays overseas following the outbreak of coronavirus, take a look at the national guidance.

What do I pay my PAs if they have to self-isolate in line with government guidance due to coronavirus?

We've agreed to pay PAs full pay for any period of self-isolation in line with current guidance. Find out more from the current guidance. If you do not have the money available in your direct payment to pay your PA, plus any additional provision while one or more PA is self-isolating, contact First Point of Contact on 0345 678 9044 as there is provision for contingency payments available.

If we have a situation where we cannot source support what should I do?

We’d like you to think about ‘what if’ and contingencies.

  • Could the level of support currently offered be reduced or stopped? 
  • Could a PA support in a different way that doesn’t require physical attendance at the place of work? 
  • Could technology help – for example Skype conversations? 
  • Can a family member cover support for a short time while PA is unwell or self isolating?  
  • Is there any assistive technology that can be provided which may help? 
  • Are you aware of community support available? You can find out more from our community support services page.

We need to understand the impact of this on you and your family, and if any additional care and support is required. Please contact your social care team directly or First Point of Contact on 0345 678 9044. If it's out of hours, please inform the Shropshire Council Emergency Duty Team (EDT) – 0345 678 9040. 

In the event of increasing numbers of people 'self-isolating' do the councils have any contingency support to offer resources or financially to cover this period? 

We're looking at options around urgent response solutions. Situations will be looked at on an individual basis, so contact your social care team or the First Point of Contact on 0345 678 9044 if you are struggling to manage with your current support.  

It is my responsibility to provide my PAs with PPE, including fluid repellent surgical masks which I am not able to source. What help is available? 

This winter well be making a payment of £200 to all direct payment recipients. This is to support with costs of PPE. More information about this and any further payments will be added here. Although there were problems getting hold of PPE earlier this year, there should now be supplies available through usual suppliers. However, if you still struggle to get hold of PPE you can request PPE supplies for PAs via this website or by calling 0345 678 9080.   

Information on what PPE is required for PAs to support you at home can be found on the Gov.UK website.

What are the arrangements if I or a member of my family tests positive with the coronavirus (COVID 19)? 

Please refer to advice given in 'Guidance for Residential Care, Supported Living and Home Care'. The best preparation is making sure you have the recommended PPE available for PAs to continue providing support safely. This is an evolving situation, and we are working across multiple agencies to ensure that people are safe and well cared for in every situation, including our care staff across the county. Updates will be posted here as soon as they become available 

What do I do if I or a member of my family has symptoms associated with coronavirus, but they have not been tested or confirmed, eg someone is prone to chest infections and currently has a cough, but has not been tested? 

Again, the best preparation is making sure you have the recommended PPE available for PAs to continue providing support safely. Where PPE is required but not available please think about whether you can be supported by family members, or manage with remote support, such as telephone support.  

Current guidance recommends that employers undertake risk assessments with staff who are themselves in the higher risk group. Additional risk assessment for supporting employers in their own homes may also be required, especially where customers are high risk and/or present with symptoms. Is there a particular risk assessment that we should be using? 

A letter was sent out in August advising about the end of shielding, which included advice about risk assessments. Find out more from the specific shielding guidance.

We encourage direct payment recipients who are employers to talk to their staff as soon as possible about arrangements for a safe return to work. This can include completing a risk assessment to discuss how health and safety can be managed, such as access to PPE and handwashing facilities etc. There is guidance on risk assessments on the Skills For Care website.

Can I employ a family member who lives in my household to provide care as an 'exceptional circumstance' during the COVID 19 crisis? 

In the event that your usual PAs are unable to provide care for a short time to self-isolate or are unwell, and all alternative options are exhausted, a household member can support you for a short time (up to four weeks). If you are self-isolating as a household this will be for up to 14 days. Your PA is still able to carry out some tasks such as shopping, errands, medication delivery etc. 

You will need to provide your family members' details to your payroll provider to set them up as an employee. If your family member is school age legal restrictions to hours of employment apply.

If you feel the arrangements need to continue past these short-term solutions this will need to be discussed with your social care team to understand your specific situation. Either call your social work team or the First Point of Contact on 0345 678 9044. 

What if an employee does not want to go to work? 

Some people might feel they do not want to go to work if they're afraid of catching coronavirus. An employer should listen to any concerns staff may have. If there are genuine concerns, the employer must try to resolve them to protect the health and safety of their staff. For example, if possible, the employer could offer flexible working. If an employee still does not want to go in, they may be able to arrange with their employer to take the time off as holiday or unpaid leave. The employer does not have to agree to this. 

If an employee refuses to attend work, it could result in disciplinary action. Speak to your insurance provider for further advice if you are having difficult discussions with your staff. 

I’m concerned about struggling to source cleaning and/or other supplies, can you advise? Please refer to guidance on infection control.

When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. 

Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.

I have built up funds in my account as I have not been able to purchase my usual support during the crisis. Can I keep it to use later?

If you haven’t been able to spend your direct payment as you would normally due to Covid-19, the payments will have built up in your account. We recommend thinking if there are different ways to meet the outcomes agreed in your support plan rather than continue accruing funds. You are able to use your direct payment flexibly - discuss your options with your social care team. However there may be situations where you cannot find alternatives. There may be reasons why you need to keep the accrued funds, ie as a contingency or for future planned spending once restrictions ease. These reasons should be discussed with your social care team to agree how much and for how long accrued funds can be kept.

Is there any concern over fuel shortages?

There are no current concerns regarding fuel supplies.

I need my PA to pick up my groceries and medication for me. Can I provide my PA with identification if they need to prove that they are a paid carer providing support if social distancing measures become more stringent?

We advise that you do as much shopping online as possible and arrange your pharmacy to deliver medication. If social distancing measures do become more stringent we can provide your PA with ID to identify them as providing essential care. Please contact the First Point of Contact on 0345 678 9044 to request this.