Information for families
Information for families of people we support can be found here
More general information is listed below.
New face covering guidance for adult support teams 21/12/2022
On 15th December, the Government announced changes to masking guidance across adult social care in England, moving towards a risk-based use of masks.
This updated guidance details the risk-based approach of using face masks and replaces previous guidance that stated face masks should be worn at all times across adult social care. Please note, there will be times when masks still need to be worn.
We have produced an easy read guide, summarising the changes to guidance, which you can download here.
New letter to families 11/10/2022
We have a new open letter to all family members of the people we support from Rachael Dodgson.
Please download the appropriate letter from the options below.
- Letter to families of people supported by Dimensions in England
- Letter to families of people supported by Dimensions Cymru
- Letter to families of people supported by Discovery in Somerset
Covid rules changing for general public 01/04/2022
You may have seen in the news that pandemic-related rules for the general public are changing in both England and Wales. From today (1st April) in England, lateral flow test kits are no longer free to members of the general public except over-75s and over-12s with weakened immune systems, and contact tracing has ended. We will update you about our procedures for testing shortly, although it should be noted that we are well stocked with lateral flow test kits centrally. In Wales, lateral flow test kits will remain free for everyone with symptoms of Covid-19 until the end of June and contact tracing will continue.
While face coverings are no longer legally required in shops or on public transport, facemasks remain compulsory in health and social care settings. Dimensions colleagues must also continue to self-isolate as before if you catch Covid-19.
Evidence of a negative test still required for all visitors 18/03/2022
We are aware that the government has now issued guidance which states that while visitors to Registered Care Homes still need to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test before entering, this is no longer required for visitors to supported living services. However, the executive team has decided that we will continue to require evidence of a negative test result for all visitors to any of our services – including contractors, family members and business support colleagues. This is because rates of Covid-19 remain high and we need to continue doing all we can to keep the people we support and colleagues safe.
As well as requiring a recent negative test result, we are also continuing to require all visitors to have their temperature checked before entering (this must be below 37.8 degrees Celsius), wear PPE and sign our Covid-19 health declaration form.
Self-isolation still required 18/03/2022
Even though self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 is no longer a legal requirement in England, it remains a requirement in the social care sector and for all colleagues at Dimensions.
PCR test still required for those with symptoms 18/03/2022
Please be aware that anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 should continue to get a PCR test until the rules change on 1st April. Until then, if you receive a positive lateral flow test result you are only exempt from needing a PCR test if you don’t have any symptoms. We are awaiting guidance on testing rules for the social care sector following 1st April and will share this when we have it.
Vaccination not required for job applicants 11/03/2022
Now that plans to make vaccination mandatory for health and social care workers in England have been scrapped, we will no longer be asking any job applicants to confirm their vaccination status or intention.
U-turn on mandatory vaccinations confirmed 04/03/2022
This week the outcome of the government’s consultation on reversing its previous policy on mandatory vaccinations in England was confirmed. This means:
- If you work in or visit a Registered Care Home, the requirement to be fully vaccinated or clinically exempt will end on 15th March 2022. Until 15th March, the current rules continue to apply, including the requirement for all visitors to sign the visitors’ book. From 15th March onwards, it will no longer be necessary to see any visitor’s vaccination evidence.
- For all other colleagues, the previously planned requirement to be vaccinated from 1st April 2022 has been shelved and we no longer need to see evidence of your vaccination.
We appreciate this has been a difficult matter for many colleagues and, while Dimensions continues to urge all colleagues to get vaccinated, we are pleased to see this mandatory requirement put behind us.
Importance of booster jabs 04/03/2022
Having a booster Covid-19 vaccination is important to protect us all against serious illness. You can book to have your booster here on the NHS website, or you can go to a walk-in centre with no appointment needed – you can see the locations of walk-in centres here.
Change to testing regime in England 04/02/2022
From 16th February, all support colleagues in England will need to take a lateral flow test every day they are working before they start their shift, as is already the case in Wales. Regular PCR tests for colleagues without Covid-19 symptoms will be dropped, although PCR tests will still be available to those with symptoms. There will be no changes to the regular asymptomatic testing for the people we support or to testing requirements in the event of an outbreak.
We are awaiting guidance on exactly how the new testing regime will be rolled out in England and will share any further details as soon as we can. Until 16th February, colleagues should continue with current testing procedures.
Vaccination requirement rescinded 04/02/2022
As you will know from other communications this week, the government is rescinding both the legal requirement for workers in Registered Care Homes to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and the plans to extend this requirement to all health and social care workers in England from 1st April. We have, therefore, ended dismissal proceedings for unvaccinated colleagues. We will provide a further update at the conclusion of the government’s short consultation period on the changes.
Please be aware, however, that all of our infection control measures remain in place, and it remains a legal requirement for visitors to Registered Care Homes, other than friends and family members of people who live there, to prove their vaccination status until current measures are officially repealed or new measures replace them.
Testing and self-isolation guidance 14/01/2022
Following the changes to rules on testing and self-isolation in England announced last week, the government has now issued guidance specifically for health and social care workers. In the light of this, we have updated our own guidance and you can download it here. The guidance now states that if you receive a positive lateral flow test result, you must stay at home and self-isolate immediately, but you don’t need to take a confirmatory PCR test –unless you have symptoms or you work in a Registered Care Home.
Importance of booster jabs 14/01/2022
Getting a booster jab against Covid-19 is a very important way of protecting ourselves against the Omicron coronavirus variant. Click here to watch Deborah Sturdy, chief nurse for adult social care in England, explaining this. You can also click here to watch Dr Nikki Kanani MBE explaining how to book your booster jab and emphasising why it is so important, especially if you work in the social care sector.
Covid passes for the people we support 10/12/2021
Now that NHS Covid passes are required to access some venues, it is important that fully vaccinated people we support have their own pass wherever possible. This can be on paper or on a personal smartphone. We are looking at developing guidance for people we support and colleagues to assist with this.
No changes to rules on visiting 03/12/2021
The recent announcements do not include any new restrictions on visiting Registered Care Homes. The latest government guidance released on 25th November states: “There are no nationally set restrictions on friends and family visiting their loved ones in care homes. We expect and encourage providers to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way.” Neither has there been any change to rules on visiting people in supported living settings. We are keeping a close eye on the situation and will let you know about any changes to government guidance should they be announced.
New guidance on working across services 03/12/2021
The government has issued this refreshed guidance on restricting workforce movement between care homes and other care settings. There is not a great deal of change, and the guidance continues to stress that restricting staff movement remains an important measure to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection. There is greater clarity now regarding which staff should have their routine movement restricted, and the guidance also describes how providers and local authorities may allow staff movement to meet specific service requirements or to alleviate capacity concerns and to ensure continuity of care. Furthermore, there are additional details on how restricting the movement of staff providing direct care will usually be recommended in response to an outbreak in a specific setting so as to avoid ‘seeding’ of outbreaks between settings.
New rules take effect in Registered Care Homes 12/11/2021
The new rules on mandatory vaccinations for workers and visitors in Registered Care Homes in England came into effect yesterday (11th November). It is now illegal for anyone who is not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to visit or work in a Registered Care Home unless they are exempt from the rule or a family member or friend of a person who lives there.
Vaccination requirement to be extended to all health and social care workers 12/11/2021
The government announced this week that, following a consultation, it is planning to extend the requirement to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to all health and social care workers in England from 1st April 2022. You may have seen this in the news this week, although the headlines focused only on NHS workers. To be clear, the proposal is to extend the rule to all regulated activity, including supported living.
Guidance issued on the proposed change indicates that the requirement will extend to any worker who “has direct interactions with patients and service users for the purposes of the provision of the regulated activity”, including “those non-clinical ancillary workers who may have direct, face to face contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care”. This is very wide in scope and at Dimensions we believe it will cover all Business Support colleagues as well as those in direct support roles.
It is expected that the legislation will pass through parliament before Christmas and we will, of course, study the finer details of this. Our Vaccines group is working on the necessary preparations, and our solicitors Anthony Collins are advising us on the employment law aspects of the change.
There are currently no proposals to introduce a mandatory vaccination requirement for any health or social care workers in Wales.
Lateral flow tests still required 22/10/2021
For the avoidance of any doubt, please be aware that all visitors to our shared services still need to have taken a lateral flow test on the day of the visit and receive a negative result before being allowed to enter the home. This includes contractors, family members and visiting colleagues not based at the service. All visitors (including colleagues) will also be required to have their temperature checked before entering (this needs to be below 37.8 degrees Celsius) and will need to follow all infection prevention control measures and wear appropriate PPE. These rules apply to shared supported living services and Registered Care Homes.
Booster and flu jabs 15/10/2021
We continue to encourage all colleagues who are offered a booster Covid-19 vaccination (which should be from 180 days after your second vaccination) and a flu vaccination to have them, and sometimes both are being administered together. We understand that some colleagues are reticent about having a booster jab because they don’t feel it is necessary or they worry about side effects. It is important to bear in mind that immunity against Covid-19 does wane over time, and the impact of fresh waves of Covid-19 together with a resurgence of the flu over the winter would be very significant. Having your booster and flu jabs protects you but it also protects others.
The government has launched a new campaign to urge the general public to have Covid-19 booster and flu jabs when offered them as new research suggests that adults in England are severely underestimating the combined threat of Covid-19 and flu this winter. You can read more about this here on the government’s website.
Applying new rules in Registered Care Homes 08/10/21
As previously communicated, from 11th November it will become illegal for anyone to work in or visit a Registered Care Home in England unless they are fully vaccinated or exempt from the regulation. To make sure we are ready for this change in the law, we have been starting to implement the new procedures in Registered Care Homes this week, including by asking all visitors to sign a visitors’ book and reminding them of the new rules which will come in shortly.
We have notified local contractors that the rules come in on 11th November. Therefore, until that date, visiting contractors such as maintenance workers should be reminded about the new regulations but can still be admitted even without proving their vaccination status.
It is also important to reiterate that even after 11th November, family members and friends of people living in a Registered Care Home won’t need to prove their vaccination status because they are legally exempt, but they will still need to sign the visitor’s book.
Visitors to Registered Care Homes 24/09/2021
Following the change in the law on 11th November, it will also be the case that all visitors to Registered Care Homes who are not permanent members of staff based at that service will have to prove their vaccination or exemption status before entering, and they will also have to sign a visitors’ book. We are implementing this rule from 4th October so that any issues can be ironed out before the law itself changes.
To be clear, it won’t be acceptable for any visitor (including Business Support colleagues, contractors, etc.) to refuse to provide evidence on the grounds of confidentiality. If a visitor says no, they simply will not be allowed inside a Registered Care Home.
Having a Coronavirus vaccine animation
Our Involvement & Engagement team have produced this accessible animation about the Covid-19 vaccine. Watch it below, or on YouTube here.
If you have concerns please speak to your locality manager for updates. You may find the following links helpful:
Everybody else, please speak to your usual contact at Dimensions.
If you cannot reach your usual contacts, please complete the contact form here.
This page will be regularly updated.