Direct payments, personal assistants and advice if you arrange care
Coronavirus advice if you have a direct payment, personal assistant or arrange your own care.
Home/domiciliary care or supported living
If you’re using a direct payment to buy care and support from a service such as a home or domiciliary care agency or a supported living agency, the agency should provide alternative support if your usual support is not available; for example if the worker is off sick or they have to stay at home because a member of their household has developed COVID-19 symptoms.
If you use a direct payment to buy day services, you will probably not be getting your normal service because of the restrictions on people getting together face to face. However, we have written to organisations that provide day services to ask them to see whether they can support you in other ways such as keeping in touch with you regularly to check you are OK; having a chat if you are feeling isolated; assisting with anything you need including help with such as food or medicine supplies if you are finding this difficult.
We hope that you will continue to seek support from your provider to do this, and continue paying them, as many will be relying on payments to keep going during COVID-19.
Personal assistants can now access weekly COVID-19 testing if they provide care that requires them to come within 2 metres of an adult over the age of 18 who they support.
If you employ a personal assistant, you should plan for what you will do if your personal assistant is unable to work. This might be because they need to self-isolate if they are ill themselves, are in a vulnerable group or live in a household where someone has developed symptoms of COVID-19.
- if you receive other sources of paid support (other than your personal assistant) via direct payment, could these be increased?
- could a family member become a temporary PA?
Make sure that information about how you like your care and support to be delivered is up to date. Include any important information that can be shared with care staff who may not be familiar to you, for example important contact information such as family members, doctors, and hospital clinics, and information about things like appointments, treatment sessions, work.
Use the template below to make a contingency plan:
You may find it useful to write a short Letter of Authorisation that your Personal Assistant can carry round with them that explains that they are working for you, and gives your name, and contact details.
Use the template below to create a letter of authorisation:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing) for people receiving direct payments
If you employ someone, such as a personal assistant, to provide your care and support, you may be able to furlough your employee and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs. You would then record them as being on furlough. Find out more at GOV.UK.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal assistants and other care staff should use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when caring for you during activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, continence support, assistance with eating and drinking and when in contact with bodily fluids, whether or not you develop symptoms of COVID-19. If you are one of the people who has been identified as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ and should be shielded (GOV.UK), your personal assistant, should use, as a minimum, a single-use, disposable plastic apron, a surgical mask and gloves when visiting, even if they are not providing washing, bathing and personal hygiene.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, we can arrange a one-off direct payment for the cost of additional PPE. If you are finding it difficult to get PPE and you have developed COVID-19, we can provide 3 days-worth. Contact the ASC COVID-19 helpline via email to AdultSocialCare-Covid-Helpline@leicester.gov.uk or on 0116 454 2300 to find out how. It is recommended that this equipment includes plastic aprons, fluid resistant surgical masks, eye protection and gloves.
If you have a personal assistant, you will probably purchase PPE from your preferred supplier and should continue to do so. However, if you can no longer get PPE from your usual supplier, we have information about where PPE can be obtained on our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) webpage.
New PPE must usually be used for each episode of care. It is essential that used PPE is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. It should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.
If personal assistants or care workers undertake cleaning duties, then they should follow the government guidance: COVID-19 Cleaning in non-healthcare settings.
There is more information for people who are individual employers and personal assistants during COVID-19 on the Skills for Care website.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. Personal Assistants are classed as essential workers and so can apply for priority testing.
- Government information on testing: Covid-19 Getting tested
- NHS site for arranging a test: NHS COVID-19 Testing for coronavirus
Further information and support
- Read the Government guidance: COVID-19 Guidance for people receiving direct payments
- Accessing infection control funds if your services are purchased privately or with a direct payment
We have set up a dedicated crisis support email address which you can use if you're worried about having enough food, paying your bills or feeling lonely and isolated. If you’re worried about a vulnerable or elderly neighbour, you can alert the council too. Go to our Support for residents page for more information.
If you arrange your own care, and if you experience any problems and cannot make alternative arrangements yourself, contact the Leicester Adult Social Care COVID-19 helpline:
- Phone: 0116 454 2300
- Email: AdultSocialCare-Covid-Helpline@leicester.gov.uk