Adult social care COVID-19 (coronavirus) update

Adult social care and our providers in Barnsley are supporting up to approximately 7,000 vulnerable people in their homes and in care settings every day. As the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) progresses, services will be disrupted for the foreseeable future.

We’re following and reviewing government guidance to make sure that we're able to respond to the latest advice. This includes working closely with our partners and providers to make sure they're following infection control advice and continue to deliver safe care. We can then prioritise those most at risk and in need of care and support services. Local authorities and the wider health and care workforce are faced with difficult decisions every day. However, planning for and responding to COVID-19 as it develops will require making difficult decisions under new and exceptional pressures with limited time, resources or information.

To help guide us during this period, the government have published an ethical framework. As more information emerges recommendations may change, so keep up to date with the national guidance on this site as this is updated regularly.

Summary of service offers

The following is a summary of the service offers during this difficult time and would ask for your support during this period.

Our main priorities at this time are:

  • Making sure our most vulnerable people, with care and support needs, are safe and well in the community.
  • Keeping flow through the hospital so that people who are the most unwell can be cared for.
  • Continuing to develop the community responder service that can respond quickly to help people who may be isolated and in need of support.

Care at home

Due to staff shortages and increase in demand, it is highly likely that individual care packages may be affected. This may affect either the frequency or the timing of the visits.

We're doing everything we can to provide essential visits.

Where visits can be covered by family or friends, and where it's safe to do so, families should contact their care providers directly to arrange this. Please follow the latest government guidance.

This advice relates to those individuals where the council has made provisions for care and those who have their own private care arrangements.

We continue to work making sure those most vulnerable in our communities who are self-isolating have access to essentials they need – further work on this is taking place nationally, in South Yorkshire and locally.

Our community responder scheme has been launched and we'll be ensuring that support reaches those who need it the most.

For those who don't have any support networks to help them through this period, our COVID-19 emergency contact centre has launched. Through this, you can request support for a vulnerable person online or over the phone.

Personal budget and direct payment users

We're in the process of contacting people with a personal budget and direct payment to make sure they have relevant arrangements in place.

If a personal assistant falls ill, you can use other personal assistants without the need to contact us. This could be a neighbour, someone else you know or have recruited, or a family member that does not usually live with you.

If this is not possible we can increase your direct payments, to provide you with agency cover until your personal assistant is able to offer care and support to you again. There always remains the option of suspending care and getting a commissioned service.

Residential care and nursing homes

For individuals in residential or nursing homes, we know there are now restrictions in place for visitors to keep residents as safe and well as possible. Providers are following national guidance.

All planned respite care is being reviewed and only critical respite will continue. Please contact your social work team directly if you have any queries. We'll do our best to continue supporting carers as much as possible through our support services.

Day services

All day care services are now closed in response to government guidance.

We’re contacting those people who may be vulnerable to check whether they need additional support, but this will be limited to those most vulnerable and without alternative support. If you have any specific queries, please contact your social work team directly.

Supported accommodation

Supported accommodation providers will be continuing to provide their service, while taking actions necessary to reduce the risk of infection to service users.

We'll also be discussing with providers the arrangements to support individuals if services are significantly disrupted.

PPE (personal protective equipment)

Personal assistants need to ring the supply line and ask them for any information and register themselves on their delivery rota. This service can also direct them to suppliers.

You can call the National Supply Disruption line on 0800 915 9964 or email supplydisruptionservice@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Shared Lives

For many people Shared Lives offers a permanent place to live and therefore national guidance should be followed. For those who access shared lives for respite we'll be reviewing this, and only critical respite will be offered during this time.

For all Shared Lives carers who offer day care and sessional support, this is currently suspended. Social work teams are reviewing and monitoring to identify any critical needs.

Take a look at national Shared Lives guidance.

Carer support

Barnsley Carers Service delivered by Making Space has suspended group and face-to-face meetings. For people already accessing the service, carers support continues to be available over the phone during the following hours:

  • Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm
  • Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm

If you don’t currently access this service you can still contact them by calling (01226) 288722 or emailing BarnsleyCarers@makingspace.co.uk

Carers assessments will be prioritised and completed over the phone.

Financial support to care providers in Barnsley

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has announced additional funding to local authorities to help them meet the increased demand for adult social care and to provide additional support to social care providers.

Support to care providers that have contracts with us:

Find out more about the steps taken by us to support providers of residential and domiciliary care services, as well as any other social care services that are contracted with us:

One-off payments to care providers

Financial support in the form of lump-sum payments have been made by us to ensure the financial resilience of care providers to manage identified cost pressures during the pandemic. The details of the support provided are as follows:

  1. A total of £1.594m was paid to care providers in March 2020 to cover additional cost pressures arising from: use of temporary / agency staff; increased statutory sick pay; cost of procuring personal protective equipment (PPE); and other associated administrative costs. The purpose of the support is to ensure that providers are able to meet increasing demand and/or to ensure continuity of service.
  2. Individual payments made to care providers range from £5,000 to £50,000 and are based on contracted costs in 2019/20 financial year. The payments equate to an increase in excess of 10% when compared to profiled care provider costs for the relevant period in 2019/20.
  3. A further payment of £1.125m has been made by the council to care home providers in May 2020 from the adult social care infection control funding allocation (£3.002m). A further commitment is in place to make a second instalment payment (£1.125m) to care home providers in June or July 2020, subject to certain conditions being met.
  4. Consideration is currently being given to allocating the balance of the infection control funding £0.752m to other care providers (domiciliary care, supported living, etc.) to support wider workforce resilience in relation to Covid-19 infection control measures.   

Other financial support to care providers

In addition to the above one-off payments, we will seek to alleviate cashflow and other financial concerns faced by care providers that it contracts with through the following measures:

  1. All care providers have been removed from the Council’s Premier Supplier Scheme ensuring full payment of invoices with no discounts applied.
  2. Payment terms will not be applied ensuring that Invoices will be paid immediately.
  3. Domiciliary care providers (including supported living providers) will be paid on plan for example based on the planned care hours.
  4. Residential care homes providers will be paid weekly based on planned support.
  5. Temporary on-going payment of voids in all care homes (Older People and Learning Disabilities) caused as a result of the death of a service user funded by the LA at the time of death. Payment for voids is being made on a gross basis.
  6. Block booking of residential/nursing care beds, in partnership with the CCG.
  7. Payments to long term shared lives carers will continue in line with current payment arrangements.
  8. Block contract payments to support providers will continue to be made in line with agreed contractual arrangements.
  9. Payments will continue to be made to direct payment recipients and those service users will be encouraged to pay providers under the current service agreement.

It is estimated that payment to plan (i.e. for frustrated and abortive calls by domiciliary care providers) and voids arising from deaths in care homes would cost the Council in the region of £0.9m over a 3 month period.

Other non-financial support to care providers

There are a range of other non-financial support and assistance provided to care providers during the pandemic:

  1. Facilitated mutual aid – staff recruitment/deployment, use of volunteers.
  2. Provision of and access to emergency personal protective equipment (PPE).
  3. Point of contact and facilitated engagement with health partners for example CCGs and other community health service providers.
  4. Regular communication and share of information/guidance with care providers (through bulletins).

Support offered to care providers that don't have contracts with us:    

The support provided to care providers that the council do not have any business with is mainly non-financial in nature as outlined above and limited to the following:

  • Sharing of information and guidance.
  • Access and provision of PPE.
  • Support for providers whose care is commissioned directly by Direct Payment recipients.
  • Facilitated collaboration across providers.

We will regularly review and update our plans in line with new developments and changes to support arrangements.

Download our response to care support letter.

Remaining safe and well

While we're working closely with our care providers and other agencies to minimise disruption to our services, we’re also asking for the support of individuals and their families to make sure that together, those who are most vulnerable, can receive the care they need and are effectively safeguarded.

You can keep in touch with South Yorkshire Police and receive alerts by signing up online.

If you're worried about a vulnerable adult

If you're worried and have any safeguarding concerns, you can find out what to do or contact us on (01226) 773300 or outside of office hours on (01226) 787789.

Helpful links