Coronavirus: Infection Prevention and Control
Good infection prevention and control is central to reducing and delaying the spread of coronavirus. Key infection control resources are highlighted here.
Please note: Information from the DHSC, PHE and NHS is updated regularly.
Funding for infection prevention and control§
The Infection Control and Testing Fund has been extended, with an extra £388 million of funding from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 to support the care sector to put in place crucial measures over the winter period. The purpose of this fund is to support adult social care providers (including those with whom the local authority does not have a contract) to:
- reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings through effective infection prevention and control practices and increase COVID-19 and flu vaccine uptake among staff
- conduct testing of staff and visitors in care settings to identify and isolate positive cases, and in order to enable close contact visiting where possible.
People who receive care and the adult social care workforce will be further protected from COVID-19 and flu over the coming months, as the government sets additional funding for infection prevention and control.
From 30 September an additional £388.3 million to prevent the spread of infection in social care settings, including £25 million to support care workers to access COVID-19 and flu vaccines over the winter months. This will ensure social care staff who need to travel to receive their COVID-19 or flu vaccinations are paid their usual wages to do so and can be supported with travel costs.
To boost flu vaccine uptake among social care staff, GP practices will be able to vaccinate care home staff that are not registered at their practice. Uptake will be regularly monitored by region to allow a targeted approach, and more flu vaccines will be available earlier this year.
The Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund was first introduced in May 2020, to support adult social care providers in England to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings.
It was extended in October 2020; and in April 2021 it was consolidated with the existing Rapid Testing Fund, to support additional lateral flow testing (LFT) of staff in care homes, and enable indoors, close contact visiting where possible.
By June 2021, these funding streams had provided almost £1.35 billion ring-fenced funding for infection prevention and control, and £288 million for rapid testing in care settings. This fund has been extended until September 2021, with an extra £251 million of funding.
This CPA briefing note provided further information and examples to support care providers’ reports to local authorities on ICF2 funding. (This document is now out of date, but may still be of interest.)
The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) welcomes the government’s promise of extra funding as part of the Infection Control Fund and the announcement of the new Adult Social Care Winter Plan. (This document is now out of date, but may still be of interest.)
Range of Public Health England guidance and resources for health and care staff on infection prevention and control during coronavirus outbreak. There are also some downloadable posters.
Advice on appropriate infection prevention and control precautions for stepdown in hospital or discharge to home or residential settings for COVID-19 patients.
Resources include a quick guide, which sets out best practice to remain safe and prevent coronavirus from spreading, and a free e-learning course about infection control for frontline staff.
Guidance on the ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Guidance for care home providers on limiting staff movement between settings in all but exceptional circumstances to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Updated guidance on retesting within 90 days of a previous positive test in the ‘further guidance on testing’ section.
This guidance is designed for people who may be involved in managing the body of a deceased person during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes deaths where COVID-19 infection was present.
The National Care Forum (NCF), Quality Compliance Systems (QCS) and Standards Wise International have developed an audit tool that supports organisations to assess their own practices, and prepare evidence for audit which meets CQC requirements and also conforms to international standards.
The tool is structured around eight questions and prompts that CQC inspectors will use to assess infection prevention and control procedures in all care settings in England from September.
CPA guidance on infection prevention and control to protect the health and well-being of service users in care settings, and to reduce the effect of an infection outbreak on service provision. Effective infection prevention and control depends on early recognition and timely intervention. This in turn depends on surveillance of infection. This document should be used in conjunction with national guidance and local policies.
CPA has also published a helpful checklist that you could use to help you prevent and control the spread of infection in your care setting. This document should be used in conjunction with national guidance and local policies. It should also be used to complement the guidance on Infection prevention and control.
- Download Infection control checklist – PDF version
- Download Infection control checklist – Word version
Guidance for those working in care homes providing information on how to work safely during this period of sustained transmission of COVID-19.
Guidance on how to protect care home residents and staff during the coronavirus outbreak.
This Care Provider Alliance briefing outlines a risk management approach care homes can use to manage restrictions on staff movements. The briefing relates to CQC registered care homes with or without nursing in England.
This document sets out the waste management approach for all healthcare facilities including primary care facilities and testing facilities in England and Wales during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The VIVALDI-1 survey was set up before Capacity Tracker was widely used. It collected information on the number of staff and residents in each care home and the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections. The study found that infections and outbreaks were less likely in care homes that:
- Paid statutory or more than statutory sickness pay to staff (compared to homes that did not provide sickness pay at all)
- Made sure staff only worked with either infected or uninfected residents, not both
- Did not employ bank or agency nurses or carers
- Had higher numbers of staff per resident.
A resource for those working in domiciliary care providing information on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
See also our section on PPE supplies.
Guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) personal protective equipment (PPE).
Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for aerosol generating procedures (AGPs).
This resource outlines personal protective equipment (PPE) advice for health and social care workers working in the community.
Inspection and IPC§
Includes a list of questions and prompts that inspectors use to look at how well staff and people living in care homes are protected by infection prevention and control (IPC) - key line of enquiry S5.
The questions help them to gather information about the service's strengths. They also help them to understand if there are any gaps or concerns about infection prevention and control. Where there are, they aim to signpost the service to resources that could help.
For inspections of designated settings, there are specific elements CQC are checking for in the environment to ensure infection control can be maintained. They will be checking this using their Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) framework. They will check if services are physically separating this group of residents, whether a dedicated workforce is in place and ensuring there’s an appropriate emphasis on ventilation.
The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) welcomes the Care Quality Commission’s latest report on infection prevention and control during the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking about the report, Kathy Roberts, CPA chair said: “CQC’s very timely report provides further evidence and examples to support continuous improvement in this area and we look forward to working with CQC on this crucial issue for care providers, their staff and the people they support.”
In response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic CQC have introduced Infection Prevention and Control inspections in order to share good practice, uphold high quality care and keep people in care safe.
As this report shows most care providers that CQC have inspected have shown they are responding to the challenges of infection prevention control well, under these extraordinary circumstances.