Latest Coronavirus Information and Updates
During the current Coronavirus pandemic we still need to help keep adults at risk safe from abuse and neglect and share up to date information with the public and professionals.
As COVID-19 infection levels are increasing again across the UK and with a new national lockdown from 5th November, the threat the country is facing continues to evolve by the day and places the residents of East Sussex in a position of real vulnerability. It is crucial therefore that people can receive up-to-date information so that everyone can keep themselves, their families and those they care for safe. We are seeing many examples of positive action from communities, with offers of help and support from networks of volunteers and agencies across the public and private sectors.
At the same time a number of safeguarding issues and areas of exploitation that are a direct result of the pandemic are becoming increasingly evident. A significant concern of the East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board (ESSAB) and the East Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership (ESSCP) is that much of this abuse may be hidden, particularly with people living in isolation, perhaps with perpetrators of abuse, and with the additional current challenges created by the fact that professionals are not able to visit clients as frequently.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have produced a document outlining Frequently Asked Questions in relation to COVID-19 and Safeguarding Adults. This is aimed at a wide range of people involved in safeguarding adults, including partner agencies of the ESSAB and covers current safeguarding issues for Safeguarding Adults Boards.
We ask everyone – the public, volunteers and professionals from all sectors – to be particularly vigilant to identifying and reporting any concerns if you feel that an adult or child is at risk or is experiencing abuse or neglect. To refresh your knowledge we advise reading our webpage on the signs and indicators of abuse and neglect.
Local authorities are continuing to respond to safeguarding concerns and undertake enquiries during the Coronavirus pandemic, and so if you have a concern please report this:
Safeguarding is everyone’s business – If you see something, say something
The ESSAB and ESSCP would like to thank all our partner agencies for their hard and dedicated work in the current challenging circumstances.
Social Distancing and Self-Isolation
Social isolation can impact significantly upon instances of abuse and neglect. In particular we know that situations involving domestic abuse, self-neglect and carer stress will increase with greater levels of isolation. Social isolation can result in:
- Abuse or neglect being hidden from professionals and others
- People do not receive the care and support they need
- Increased stress and tension within the home environment
- People may not feel able to ask for help for fear of being an added burden.
Protect yourself from Coronavirus fraud
Following a rise in Coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefits from the public’s concern and uncertainty over COVID-19, it is important that we all stay vigilant. Examples of current COVID-19 scams that are occurring both online and in person include:
- Doorstep pressure selling of cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.
- The targeting of older people on their doorstep, offering to do their shopping, taking their money and not returning.
- The sale of fake COVID-19 testing kits and supplements that claim to prevent or cure COVID-19.
To protect yourself and your family please protect yourself and don’t let fraudsters try to lure you in with offers that look too good to be true.
The advice is simple, think very carefully before you hand over your money, and don’t give out your personal details unless you are sure who you are dealing with. Communities are also being urged to look out for signs of neighbours being targeted by doorstep criminals.
Since March 2020 the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has identified “more UK government branded scams relating to COVID-19 than any other subject” and phishing is the most prevalent method the fraudsters are employing. An example of this type of phishing is a bogus text from HMRS claiming the taxman has been forced to issue refunds due to Coronavirus; the text provides a link for readers to ‘calculate their refund’ leading to the theft of their bank details and other sensitive information.
The NCSC have launched the cyber aware security campaign to help people learn how to stay safe online.
The government have also published information about the work of their specialist units to tackle the spread of false Coronavirus information online, including the Don’t Feed the Beast campaign, which helps the public spot false information.
Coronavirus and Domestic Abuse
Whilst the Coronavirus situation is a worrying time for us all, this is particularly the case for adults and children living with domestic violence, in terms of escalating risks of abuse and serious harm and the feeling that they are trapped. The guidance below is designed to help in providing advice and support to keep safe as well as phone lines you can call if you are worried. Don’t forget though that, if you or someone you live with has been, or you think might be, harmed call the police on 101 or, in an emergency 999.
It is also important to consider unpaid carers in the context of domestic violence and abuse, in terms of the potential additional tensions that may arise in caring situations. Whilst it might not be possible to access respite, it is vital that carers and cared-for alike – where they can – use other means such as telephone calls, Facetime etc to connect with others. You are not alone and the services that are here to help are still here, even if the way they provide that support may be different from normal.
Additional information about carers support during the Coronavirus is available on our support for carers page.
It is important to know that you are not alone. You can access support in a number of ways:
- Information about support for those experiencing domestic and sexual violence and abuse in East Sussex is available on the Safe in East Sussex website.
- Safelives have produced a guide for staying safe during COVID-19 for victims and survivors.
- Safelives have also produced guidance for professionals on managing multi-agency forums, including MARAC.
- The Government has published COVID-19 support for victims of domestic abuse and guidance for domestic abuse safe accommodation provision.
- Make Yourself Heard – What to do if you need urgent police help through 999 but cannot speak.
- Alcohol Change UK have produced a briefing paper on alcohol and domestic abuse in the context of Coronavirus.
- The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have produced guidance on safeguarding and domestic abuse during the COVID-19 crisis and the impact of easing lockdown restrictions upon domestic violence and abuse.
In April 2020 the Government launched a public awareness campaign highlighting the help that is available to anyone that is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic violence and abuse. Using the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone the campaign is seeking to make people aware that support services remain available for those affected by domestic abuse during this challenging time.
Coronavirus and Modern Slavery
Modern Slavery is a harmful and hidden crime and its victims may be especially isolated and hidden from view during the Coronavirus crisis. Help and support is available for victims of Modern Slavery.
- The NHS and Home Office have created flyers which set out what Modern Slavery is, how to recognise the indicators of Modern Slavery and how to refer suspected cases of Modern Slavery to appropriate services.
- Full details on identifying potential victims of modern slavery and indicators are available in the Home Office modern slavery guidance.
There is also specific advice on how to work safely in a number of different settings:
GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service WhatsApp
This free service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information advice about Coronavirus, and will further reduce the burden on NHS Services. To use the free service, simply add 07860 064 422 into your phone contacts and message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
The NHS has dedicated and up-to-date information about Coronavirus on their website, including identifying symptoms, what to do if you think you have Coronavirus, and self-isolation.
The latest NHS Coronavirus guidance has been translated into 32 languages via Doctors of the World.
Out now – the NHS COVID app
A national NHS phone app was launched on 24/09/2020 to help trace and restrict cases of COVID-19. It can be freely downloaded by Android or Apple (IoS) users. The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus and it allows users to check symptoms and get testing advice.
Many premises and businesses in East Sussex are now displaying posters with a QR code. App users can scan these codes with their phone when they visit so they can be easily be contacted if a nearby positive case is confirmed.
NHS Your COVID-19 recovery website
Phase one of the new NHS Your COVID Recovery website has been launched. It’s designed to help people recover from the long-term effects of COVID-19 and support them to manage their recovery. The website includes information from rehabilitation experts about how to manage ongoing symptoms and health needs at home, and signposts to sources of support. It also includes information on returning to work, and a helpful section for family, friends and carers of people who are recovering.
Accessing healthcare during the Coronavirus pandemic
Some patients are understandably anxious about going into hospital or health centres in the current unprecedented circumstances. There’s growing evidence showing that people may be ignoring health concerns and putting off coming into hospital, even if they need urgent or emergency help. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) have released a message to residents to reassure people that the NHS is still here for those who need it. Watch this video from Dr David Walker, ESHT Medical Director, for more information.
Other healthcare changes introduced due to the pandemic include:
- GP surgeries in East Sussex have transformed how they’re working and have created new, dedicated sites so people with COVID-19 symptoms can be seen safely.
- Sign Live has been introduced in every GP surgery in East Sussex. This means people who are Deaf can contact their GP surgery through the free to use SignLive app.
- For help from a GP – use your GP surgery’s website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery. Don’t go to the practice in person unless you’re told to do so after an initial assessment.
- For urgent medical help – use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies – call 999 for an ambulance.
- If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go.
- If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Mental Health Support
It’s particularly important to take care of your mental health whilst self-isolating. For tips on how to keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home, visit Every Mind Matters.
Sussex Mental Healthline
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has expanded the Sussex Mental Healthline to offer support to people across Sussex struggling with significant and escalating mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Sussex Mental Healthline can be reached on 0800 0309 500.
For lower level concerns, people should still speak with their GP in the first instance. People who are open to community mental health teams should continue to liaise with their Lead Practitioner whenever possible. See the mental health directory for other services operating in East Sussex.
Warning Signs – Suicide Prevention
Warning Signs is a suicide prevention campaign developed by Sussex Health & Care Partnership (SCHP) specifically aiming to reduce the rate of suicide amongst men across Sussex and contributing to reducing the stigma associated with men seeking help.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts do seek support – sharing your thoughts can help.
For more information visit wPreventing Suicide Sussex
Drug and alcohol support
Change, Grow, Live offer professional support to people in Sussex, with specific information related to drug and alcohol problems during Coronavirus.
Alcoholics Anonymous offer a number of online 12 step meetings, which can be accessed through their website. They also offer a 24 hour, free confidential helpline – 0800 9177 650.
Narcotics Anonymous also offer online 12 step mutual aid programmes through their website.
Please look out for the wellbeing of those around you. We know that young people, and those working in health and social care, may be more likely to experience issues with depression and anxiety at this time, so please take the time to ask how someone is doing. It could make all the difference. Thank you for everything that you continue to do to support both your colleagues and the communities we serve
Health and wellbeing support for health and social care staff
- Sussex Mental Heathline, run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) is now open 24/7 and available to all health and social care staff who might need a little extra support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing at this particularly challenging time. This includes, but is not limited to, care home staff, hospitals, GPs, social workers and support workers.
- Samaritans, working with NHS England, have extended their coronavirus helpline to all social care workers. Social care staff will be able to speak to a trained Samaritans adviser, who will provide a non-judgmental listening ear, a safe space to offload and signposting to other services. The wellbeing support line is available 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week. Call: 0300 131 7000.
- Hospice UK have also extended their bereavement and trauma support hotline to everyone working in social care, with specialist counsellors available to support staff who have experienced trauma, stress or anxiety through their work. The helpline is available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, call: 0300 303 443
- Mental health and wellbeing guidance for the adult social care workforce has also been published on the CARE app to support staff and employers through the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Local Government Association and NHS England and Improvement have produced a comprehensive pack of wellbeing information and resources to help health and care managers support the wellbeing of staff who may be working under exceptional pressure to do their jobs while at the same time dealing with their own personal situations and emotions.
- The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a new dedicated app for the social care workforce to support people through the pandemic. The app is available for anyone working in social care in England, and provides guidance, learning resources and toolkits, discounts and other support all in one place. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, as well as being accessible online at workforce.adultsocialcare.uk.
As the situation with COVID-19 develops, East Sussex County Council is working with partners in the NHS, Public Health England and other services to keep vital services running and providing the support everyone needs, especially to the most vulnerable. In response to this unprecedented situation, and in line with Government guidance, safeguarding and protecting the most vulnerable adults in our community remains a priority.
East Sussex County Council Community Hubs
East Sussex County Council have set up Community Hubs as a contact point for the residents of East Sussex to turn to if they feel that they need extra help in coping with the effects of Coronavirus, or if they know someone who needs help. Many people will already have the support they need from family, friends, carers or neighbours and will not need their community hub. But it’s vital that no one is left on their own if they feel isolated, unwell or anxious. Community Hubs will remain open across East Sussex until at least the end of August for people who have no one else to help them cope with the effects of the virus
The Community Hubs have issued the following guides:
- East Sussex Community Hubs – Guidance for Staff and Volunteers
- Information about shops and food businesses
- Information about supermarkets
- Information about drug and alcohol services
You can also download and print this Community Hubs leaflet.
ESCC Updates for Adult Social Care and Health Providers
If you are a social care or health provider email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list.
Personal Assistants can access Coronavirus – information for PAs which includes information about testing, accessing PPE, the latest national guidance, and health and wellbeing for staff.
With the Coronavirus outbreak community groups and volunteers are increasingly crucial in supporting adults at risk. With that in mind, you are volunteering with your local community, or you are hiring volunteers, it is important that you safeguard yourself and others from harm and abuse.
The Government has produced a factsheet designed to address specific concerns that people involved in supporting their community may have at this time.
Please also watch this short video produced by Waltham Forest Council – Safeguarding Awareness for Volunteers – which provides basic information on safeguarding and how to raise a concern. Our thanks to Waltham Forest Council for the use of this video.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have produced a One Minute Guide – Safeguarding Adults for Coronavirus Volunteers.
Training for Volunteers
The East Sussex Adult Social Care Training Team are offering a condensed, intensive training programme for individuals offering their services in adult social care. This is for people new to East Sussex County Council, new to Independent Care Sector Provider services, Personal Assistants through Support with Confidence and those volunteering through East Sussex County Council Community Hubs or other voluntary sector organisations.
Based on the Care Certificate, all individuals will be allocated a mentor from the training team. Following a self-assessment, the mentor will work out a tailored training programme to get workers ready to practice on the front line.
Training will be a combination of:
- professional discussion with the mentor
- e-learning modules
- live Skype training
Once training is completed and evidence collected, workers will receive a certificate to demonstrate their learning. To access the training, please email AdultSocialCareTraining@eastsussex.gov.uk
Health Education England have made available free training resources on COVID-19 that will be useful to staff and volunteers.
NHS Volunteer Scheme
The NHS volunteer scheme has been expanded to offer vital support to frontline health and social care workers, helping them to protect those they care for by making fewer journeys and coming into contact with fewer people. This could include delivering food shopping, dropping off medications or providing transport.
Direct referrals can be made through the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal or by calling 0808 196 3382 (8am – 8pm).
More information is available on the Royal Voluntary Service website.
The Coronavirus Act 2020, which received royal assent on 25/03/2020, sets out proposals to enhance the ability of public bodies to provide an effective response to tackle this pandemic by introducing temporary legislation and regulatory easing. The legislation will be time-limited for a period of 2 years.
The Coronavirus Act does not affect the safeguarding protections in the Care Act, and safeguarding adults remains a statutory duty of Local Authorities. Whilst it is vital for Local Authorities to continue to offer the same level of oversight and application of these statutory duties, it is also important that safeguarding teams are proportionate in their responses and mindful of the pressures social care providers are likely to be under.
The government has produced guidance on the Care Act Easements which sets out how local authorities can ensure the best possible care for people during this exceptional period.
Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
The Department of Health and Social Care have issued guidance for health and social care staff who are caring for or treating a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
The Office of the Public Guardian in recognising the increase in need to check the validity and scope of LPAs has introduced a rapid check process (within 24 hours). Click here to access the government guidance issued for NHS and social care staff to check if a COVID-19 patient has an attorney or deputy.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks
In response to the Coronavirus crisis, the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have put temporary arrangements in place to provide standard and enhanced DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the adults’ and children’s Barred Lists, free-of-charge. This applies to healthcare and social care workers in England and Wales, being recruited in connection with the provision of care and treatment of Coronavirus, or those being recruited to backfill roles because of the impact of the pandemic.
Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
SCIE are regularly updating their COVID-19 Hub to provide advice to the public, councils and social care providers including guidance on safeguarding adults during the pandemic.
Skills for Care
Skills for Care have produced a range of guidance to support the adult social care sector during the coronavirus.
Skills for Care have also produced a helpful summary of the Coronavirus Ethical Framework Principles, produced by the Department of Health and Social Care to provide support to the adult social care sector regarding ongoing response planning and decision making in the current climate.
COVID Symptom Tracker
An app has been developed by Guys and St Thomas’ and Kings College NHS Trusts to help the spread of COVID-19. Please download the COVID Symptom Tracker app to support this valuable research.
Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups have developed a resource pack to support those in isolation. The pack contains a home environment checklist, useful contact details, tips and hints about eating and exercises to support strength and balance.
Help for those with a learning disability
The Learning Disability Partnership in East Sussex have produced a range of easy read guides:
- Easy Read Guide to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- Easy Read Guide to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and your wellbeing
- Coronavirus – Easy Read Guide (updated June 2020)
Mencap have produced a range of easy read guides and information about Coronavirus.
The guidance will help care staff to:
- keep people with learning disabilities and autistic people safe
- support them to understand the changes they need to make during the COVID-19 outbreak; and
- protect their own wellbeing
Help for those with a visual impairment
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has a helpline which is open on weekdays from 8am to 8pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. Anyone in the community who needs help can call the helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email email@example.com
In addition to the usual help and advice on living with sight loss, advisers can connect people to local support, and help them sign up to telephone and online groups that may offer a source of comfort.
Through the same number, you can also access pre-recorded information on coronavirus and the government’s response.
Help for those who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment
In response to some of the challenges of caring for Deaf people highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sign Health and Interpreter Now are working together to provide free access to online British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreters.
BSL Health Access facilitates communication in health-related situations such as GPs, dentists, pharmacies, opticians, NHS hospitals and any health-care related appointments. The service is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it’s free!
Sign Health have also created a series of signed videos explaining what COVID-19 is and what help and advice is available.
Dementia care and COVID-19
- Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has published a quick guide for carers in care homes supporting residents living with dementia. It covers understanding of signs of COVID-19, helping residents with confusion, managing behavioural challenges and supporting residents with end-of-life care.
- The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have produced guidance around new ways of working with people in dementia settings. It provides some suggestions for working with people with dementia and responding to behaviours that challenge.
- The Health Innovation Network have produced a guide to online resources with suggested activities for those providing care for people with dementia. These can be used in inpatient settings and care homes.
Guidance for those refusing or not following self-isolation and social distancing
Norfolk SAB have produced some helpful Guidance for those refusing or not following self-isolation and social distancing Thanks to our colleagues in Norfolk SAB for the use of this guidance.
British Red Cross Hardship Fund
The British Red Cross Hardship Fund provides short term financial help for people who cannot afford essentials such as food and toiletries, somewhere safe to sleep, access to a telephone and the Internet, and fuel to keep the lights on, cook or stay warm. The fund is for people with no income or welfare support, or where there are delays in accessing income or welfare support. The fund can be used to help people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
Support for the bereaved
St. Wilfrid’s Hospice is temporarily extending its adult bereavement support to the whole community, beyond those directly linked to the hospice. This crisis affects all bereaved – whether their loved one died due to the virus, if they have been unable to visit their loved one, or because grief feels particularly hard while many of us are distanced and isolated.
- People can self-refer via St. Wilfrid’s website or ring 01323 434 251 to ask for a call back regarding bereavement support.
- Professionals can make a referral
- The hospice’s Seahorse Project continues to accept referrals for bereaved children.
The British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK have set up a post COVID hub to bring together information about the longer-term impact of COVID-19.
It includes a helpline for offering support to patients with post COVID-19 breathlessness and could be helpful if you are supporting people who have recovered, or are recovering, from COVID-19. The helpline is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0300 222 5942