New guidance aimed at people who receive support via direct payments through personal budgets and personal health budgets, as well as local authorities and others who support and deliver care via direct payments
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued new COVID-19 guidance for people in receipt of direct payments for care and support.
Aimed at people who receive support through personal budgets and personal health budgets - as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and providers who support and deliver care via direct payments - the new guidance, Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments, sets out the steps that people should take to protect themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In particular, for those people who employ personal assistants via a direct payment, the guidance advises that they should -
- urgently review the support arrangements currently in place for when their personal assistant is unable to work due to sickness or annual leave and consider whether they are robust enough should there be a need to cover for any period where a personal assistant may need to self-isolate because they are ill themselves, are in a vulnerable group or live in a household where someone has developed symptoms of COVID-19;
- consider alternative options, for example if there are other sources of paid support in place, could these be flexed and increased to cover any reduced personal assistant support and vice-versa;
- consider alternative or additional personal assistants and/or care providers such as agencies who may be able to offer care and support or a back-up option should there be issues in continuation of their personal assistant support; and
- ensure that details about how they like their care and support to be delivered are up to date with key information that can be shared with care staff who may not be familiar with them, including what they deem to be essential.
For those people who buy care and support or other services via a direct payment, the guidance advises that they should -
- make early contact with the agency who provides their support and agree any actions that will be taken to support them should their regular, paid carer be unavailable;
- ensure that the agency has their up-to-date details, any relevant care and support plans and relevant dates if they need to attend important appointments with support; and
- where the direct payment is used to purchase other types of support, speak to the provider and agree arrangements if any issues may occur in delivering this service.
Finally, the guidance advises that anyone who finds themselves in a position where there is no one to support them due to the wider impact of COVID-19 should contact the adult social care team or clinical commissioning group that provides their direct payment to discuss alternative care arrangements.
For more information see Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments from gov.uk