We’ve pulled together some resources that we hope will be helpful for dealing with Coronavirus / COVID-19, which we’ll update regularly.

We’ve also produced a fact sheet for people using Direct Payments in the Coronavirus Crisis, which you can download here:

Cumbria County Council has a frequently asked questions section of its website for adults, children & families who use personal budgets and direct payments: CCC info’ for care providers

The Government has also produced some guidance for people using Direct Payments, Personal Budgets or Personal Health Budgets, which is being updated regularly Guidance 4 DP/PHB . There’s also a shorter guide from the Government with the most important things that you need to know if you’re using Direct Payments: Most important things to know

Support from DaCE Cumbria

If you use Direct Payments or a Personal Health Budget and you need assistance please contact your Co-ordinator, who would be happy to help you.   

  • Service Manager, Lynn Craig 01946 822444 email:
  • Independent Living Co-ordinators:
  • West, Angela Woodburn: 01946 825550
  • Barrow, Debbie Hutchinson: 07787 436783
  • North Cumbria & South Lakes, Chris Thorpe: 07780 989200

Booking a Coronavirus vaccination

If you are a Personal Assistant or Care Worker in Cumbria (funded by Direct Payments, Personal Health Budgets or privately funded) you can use the central government booking system to book your vaccination: Vaccination link

Employment questions

ACAS have provided useful guidance for employers and employees on Coronavirus and employment issues. This guidance is being updated daily and can be accessed here: ACAS guidance for employers and employees

The Government have introduced a system so that employees can get isolation notes. Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms, or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work. Info here: Coronavirus isolation notes

If you are self-employed there is a coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme which you can apply to for a grant. You can find out more about the scheme here: Self-employed Income Support Scheme.

There is guidance on the management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings according to exposures, symptoms and test results. This guidance contains information about what to do in a range of cirumstances, such as if a staff member develops coronavirus, return to work criteria and risk assessment information. Managment of staff guidance

Death in service benefit for social care staff. Staff performing vital frontline social care work during the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for a life assurance scheme. If they meet the qualifying work-related criteria for the scheme and die due to COVID-19, a lump sum payment of £60,000 will be made to their estate. It will cover staff who provide hands-on personal care for people who have contracted coronavirus, or work in health or care settings where the virus is present. Within social care, the scheme will include directly employed carers including personal assistants. Death in service benefit information

Coronavirus (COVID-19): bereavement scheme for family members of NHS and health and social care workers: If you’re a non-EEA family member of any NHS worker, including support staff, or a healthcare or social care worker who has died as a result of coronavirus, you will receive immediate indefinite leave to remain, free of charge.  Coronavirus bereavement scheme for family members.

International health and care staff are now exempt from the immigration health surcharge (IHS). IHS is a charge that is used towards the cost of the NHS. Individuals must apply online to get the exemption. Overseas NHS and care workers can also apply online to claim a reimbursement for some charges they have already paid: Immigration health surcharge reimbursement scheme.

Home Care Provision

The Government has produced some guidance on Home care provision. The document answers frequently asked questions: Home Care provision

Using face coverings

The Government has produced some guidance on face coverings, how to wear one and how to make your own: Face covering guidance. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to, this includes:

  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability;
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress;
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate;
  • to take medication.

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked, including if speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication.

The requirement to wear a face covering on public transport doesn’t apply if you have a disability or impairment that means you can’t use one, or if it would cause you distress: Using face coverings on public transport. Stagecoach have put together some useful information about using face coverings and how to get a face covering journey assistance card for bus travel. Stagecoach journey assistance

If you can’t wear a face covering due to a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability you can download an exemption card to print, or to download to your phone from the Government. The guidance stresses that it’s your choice if you carry a card, it’s not a Government requirement. Government face covering exemption card have also produced face covering exemption cards that you can download, or store on your phone.

Coronavirus testing

We’ve tried to provide the most up to date guidance on testing, however please bear in mind the situation with testing is changing quickly.

Everyone in England can now access tests. If you have any of the symptoms of Coronavirus you must get a test as soon as possible to see if you have Coronavirus. All the tests that you can access need to be pre-booked. You can go to the NHS testing webpage to arrange a test.

Up to date information on the different testing sites in Cumbria and how to book a test can be accessed here: Testing sites in Cumbria

You need to get the test done in the first 8 days of having symptoms. On days 1 to 7, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you’re ordering a home test kit on day 7, do it by 3pm. On day 8, you need to go to a test site – it’s too late to order a home test kit.

Personal Assistants (PA) who support individuals who use Direct Payments or Personal Health Budgets are essential frontline workers. If you have any of the symptoms of Coronavirus you must get a test as soon as possible to see if you have Coronavirus. If you have symptoms you need to get the test done in the first 8 days of having symptoms. On days 1 to 7, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you’re ordering a home test kit on day 7, do it by 3pm. On day 8, you need to go to a test site – it’s too late to order a home test kit. If you are a PA and you support someone you can self-register for a test, or be referred by your employer. You can go to a drive through testing centre, walk through testing centre, or apply for a home delivered test. All these tests need to be booked in advance. In Cumbria there are also testing centres that are just for Health and Care Workers. Your employer would need to book a test for you at one of these centres using a form on the Testing sites in Cumbria website. A GP might also refer you to one of the testing centres for Health and Care workers.

More information on the Government’s testing programme and home testing kits can be found here: Government testing programme

Personal Assistants (PA’s) can now get twice weekly Coronavirus rapid lateral flow test kits from NHS Test and Trace. To be eligible you must be providing care, which means that you have to go within 2 metres of an adult who is over the age of 18. You should be providing care and support to enable an individual to live as independently as possible, and support can be provided either in the home, or to go out into the community. You can be directly employed, or self-employed and employers can also order tests on behalf of PA’s.  Enough tests for a 21 day testing cycle would be sent out to you at a time. You can find out more here: Regular testing for PA’s

The NHS has also produced a guidance document, which you can download below:

Free antibody testing is now available for PA’s and anyone employed in adult social care. It’s a voluntary blood test which detects antibodies to the COVID-19 virus to see if you have previously had the virus. The results of the antibody test will support academic research and will help to better understand COVID-19 and how it has spread. Antibody testing is available for adult social care staff through local NHS sites, there is also an at-home antibody test that you can book using this link: How to book a test

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If you are a disabled person who employs PA’s to support you, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for protecting both you and your employees from the spread of Coronavirus. It is very important that you adhere to the most up to date guidance in order to prevent transmission of coronavirus to and from your employees.

You can find the latest Government advice on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Personal Assistants here: Coronavirus PPE advice. A useful illustrated guide has also been produced by Public Health England, which shows care workers in community and social care settings what PPE to wear and when: Illustrated PPE Guide . The Government has also produced detailed guidance on how to work safely in domiciliary care in England. Detailed guidance and short guides on how to put on and take off PPE are all downloadable: Working safely in domiciliary care in England. There is also enhanced PPE guidance for people caring for someone involving aerosol generating procedures (AGPs): PPE guidance AGPs.

Cumbria County Council have also put together a list of suppliers of PPE:

If you are in receipt of direct payments or a personal health budget and use these for a personal assistant who does not already receive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the NHS or other sources then you can access PPE through Cumbria County Council’s Emergency PPE Helpline. The helpline can be contacted between 9.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday and 10.00 to 14.00 at the weekend. The number for the Emergency PPE Helpline is 0800 783 1967.


It’s important that PA’s have up to date infection prevention training, this is available electronically through DaCE Cumbria. If you use Direct Payments or Personal Health Budgets to pay for your care you can use these budgets to cover the cost of training your PA’s. You can find out more about how to book any training you need here: DaCE Cumbria training.

Health Education England has produced a range of materials and resources for health and social care employees on coronavirus / covid-19: Health Education England materials.

Sources of Support

Cumbria County Council has a helpline for residents who need urgent help finding food and essential items, or if they are struggling to cope with their current situation for whatever reason. Helpline No: 0800 783 1966 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4.30pm). You can also email and you will receive a response within one working day. Cumbria County Council has also put together a directory of other sources of support that are available in Cumbria: Support directory

What to do if you have Coronavirus

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Check the NHS website if you have any symptoms: Coronavirus symptom checker

If you or someone you live with have any of the symptoms above you must all stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to testing to arrange.

The Government has issued stay at home guidance for households with possible Coronavirus  infection, which includes what to do if you have a vulnerable person living with you: Stay at home guidance for households with Coronavirus infection

Guidance on how to clean and disinfect your home after a Coronavirus outbreak has been produced by Cumbria County Council:

Guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you will have received a letter from the Government advising you to take extra precautions, this is known as ‘shielding’. You can download the Government guidance on shielding, which includes information on Covid-19 vaccinations for people who are shielding: Guidance on shielding

From 1st April 2021 clinically extremely vulnerable people in England will no longer need to shield and can follow national restrictions with the rest of the population. From 1st of April if you’ve been shielding you are advised to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe from COVID-19. You should continue to maintain strict social distancing, keep overall social contacts at low levels and continue to work from home where possible. You will get a letter with more information in the next two weeks (from 18/3/21). Shielding ending guidance

Guidance for people with autism or a learning disability

There’s a guide with tips for Care Staff who are supporting adults with a learning disability, or autism from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Its got lots of useful information on things like going out, supporting people, and healthcare: Guide for Care staff   SCIE have also produced a guide for families supporting adults and children with a learning disability or autism: Guide for families. The Government have also produced some guidance for care staff supporting adults with a learning disability or autism: Government Guidance

National Autistic Society has produced some handy resources for autistic people and their families about Coronavirus: National Autistic Society guidance. There’s a useful information sheet and card you can give out if you’re challenged about not wearing a face covering : Face covering information sheet

Looking after yourself

You might be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. Mind have produced some really useful tips about how to help your wellbeing at this difficult time Coronavirus wellbeing tips The Government have also produced some guidance: Mental health and wellbeing Government guidance

If you’re a young person Young Minds have lots of tips about what you can do if you’re feeling anxious. Young Minds also runs a messenger service for young people and a helpline for parents. Young Minds: info’ for young people who are anxious

If you’re working in Care it can be hard to prioritise your mental health while you’re caring for others in such a difficult situation. Mental Health at Work is offering text & phone support for Social Care workers: Mental Health at Work

Bereavement advice & support

 If someone you know has died, the NHS Bereavement Helpline offers support and advice to families, friends and carers. Nurses on the helpline can give you advice, guidance and practical support during this difficult time. The helpline is open every day from 8am to 8pm Tel: 0800 2600 400. The NHS website also has lots of helpful information on bereavement at this difficult time: NHS bereavement support

Resources for children & young people

Family Fund gives grants to families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children. Families can now apply for grants to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers and tablets, outdoor play equipment and sensory toys: Family Fund website

A comic to help children understand more about being inside has been produced by Benjamin Hansom.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation work with people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges. They have produced lots of helpful guidance for families at this challenging time and they have made all their training DVD’s free to access. There’s a link here: Coronavirus resources

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