Anyone working in care homes must follow new COVID vaccine rules from 11.11.21. You must include contractors providing building, maintenance or other support services in your arrangements.
Contractors and other support specialists may not be aware of the legal changes and the extent to which it also applies to them. This guidance sheds some light on what you must do as a care manager and what contractors and suppliers will need to have in place to continue working in a care home.
What are the New COVID Vaccine rules for care homes?
Did you know that the new COVID Vaccine rules for care homes start on 11th November? If you run or manage a care home please ensure you have checked that anyone working in your premises is double vaccinated. The exception is:
- Where a person is medically exempt, or
- Where there is emergency need to gain access into the home.
- a friend or relative of a resident
- someone visiting a resident who is dying or providing support to a resident following death of a friend or relative
- under the age of 18.
Under The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 registered managers must have a system in place to demonstrate to CQC that people do not enter their home unless they can provide evidence of double vaccination or exemption, ie a COVID Passport under another guise.
This will include contractors providing maintenance, repair and other building-related services as well as visitors to your care homes, including friends and family members who may be visiting someone you are supporting.
The official guidance can be found here
What about Contractors following COVID vaccine rules?
The same applies to contractors and care professionals who are not your employees. The exception is where they are needed for an emergency situation. In these cases you can allow them in provided you can demonstrate the emergency need, and you have good COVID-secure measures in place.
What does this mean for care providers implementing the COVID vaccine rules?
You need to devise a system that can demonstrate:
- Your have fore-warned your contractors and visitors of these and that they must comply with the COVID vaccine rules to continue providing planned services.
- The procedures in place for emergency call out situations in order to meet the new COVID vaccine rules.
- You have checked your contractors have systems in place to ensure they don’t send operatives unless they fit the criteria
- You develop/update your existing COVID and contractor management policies to reflect your new arrangements
- You have contingency arrangements in place to manage risk of workers entering who are not double vaccinated but are responding to emergency works
- These contingency arrangements extend to visitors who are exempt (ie criteria 2, 3, or 5 above) .
- You have a record system to demonstrate to CQC that you are managing safe access arrangements for those entering who are not fully vaccinated to ensure they are following strict COVID safety measures in order to meet the amended Coronavirus legislation.
In reality the contingency /emergency arrangements for those who are not fully vaccinated are unlikely to be much different to what you are already doing. The difference is that you need to record and evidence all this to demonstrate to the CQC that you are meeting the law.
What Must Care Managers Do?
You need to establish a system whereby your existing contractors are contacted and informed of the new requirements, and your policy. This will include an ongoing process to include this during vetting and selecting new contractors
You need to establish or update your policies on COVID Management and Contractor management to reflect your new arrangements.
Your supporting managers / team leaders etc will need to know the new requirements, and what you are doing to meet them, also their own contribution to ensuring the requirements are being met.
Keep coherent records of everyone entering your premises and their COVID status and/or emergency arrangements being followed.
Amend your visitor / access records to include at least the following:
What Entry Records Should Be Kept?
The record must record the following:
- Name of person(s) entering the premises:
- Organisation / purpose of visit:
- Date of entry
- Time of arrival and departure
- Area / person they are visiting
- COVID Vaccination Status
- Confirmation they will abide by your COVID emergency access rules
- Confirmation they have not tested positive or experienced symptoms in the previous 10 days.
- Confirmation of negative LFT test.
Further Support and Guidance
If you would like to receive a free sample checklist to help you address the new requirements, or sample policy wording develop or add to your existing documentation, CLICK HERE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a limited time we areoffering a free 20 minute consultation via Teams or phone to guide you through these new requirements. Simply email Nicola.email@example.com or call 01622 717700. As specialists in the health and social care sector for over 30 years, we will be able to offer practical guidance and understand exactly where you are in terms of your health and safety management.
PHSC is the only organisation approved to deliver the highly acclaimed IOSH “Principles of Safety Management in Healthcare Course, which provides a recognised benchmark of competence and guides key managers through an integrated approach to meeting CQC and HSE requirements.