Important Changes to the Capacity Tracker from Monday evening, 10th August 2020.

Following feedback, we have made some small changes the questions in Capacity Tracker on Infection Prevention and Control.

From 6pm BST Monday 10th August 2020, you will see that:

  • The Infection Prevention and Control questions have moved to a separate page, with a separate ‘save’ button
  • We have added additional answer options where the current Yes/No answers have not covered all circumstances
  • A new category for answering the questions on PPE supply – BLUE – to indicate that you have a long-term supply.


The below note provides further detail on these changes.

1. Revised answer options to Infection Prevention and Control questions

1.1 Background

In May 2020 we added 13 new questions to the Capacity Tracker to gather information directly from providers on your ability to implement different aspects of the Government guidance on preventing and controlling the spread of COVID -19, and whether you were able to access the support available to your homes to do so. These questions supported the Care Home Support Plans produced by local authorities to enhance our understanding of how well systems are implementing the Government Care Home Support Package.

1.2 Infection and Prevention Control questions – moving positions, to be completed weekly

We are reviewing the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) questions on the Capacity Tracker currently and intend to make changes to this section in two stages. We are making some limited changes this week. These will add in an additional answer option to some questions in addition to the current YES/NO answers. This is where some homes and local authorities have told us that the current options do not cover all eventualities. For instance, a home may have training on the use of PPE available from a CCG or health trust but does not need to access it because they have their own in house training.

Up to now, these Infection Prevention and Control questions have been located with questions on ‘business continuity’, which need to be updated frequently (ideally daily). From Monday 10th August from 6pm we will move these questions into a separate ‘Infection Control’ page, which you will be able to complete and save separately. We are asking that you complete these Infection Prevention and Control questions weekly, however, the Business Continuity questions still need to be updated daily.

Please note for those providers who still choose to use the ‘Bulk Update’ feature, you must answer the Infection Prevention and Control questions each time the page is saved.

In the longer term, we are reviewing the Infection Prevention and Control questions in more detail to reflect changes in procedure and new guidance.

1.3 Specific changes

Additional options have been added to the following questions:

Question Options
Have you registered on the government’s testing portal? Yes No Not able to register
Have all residents discharged to your Care Home from hospital been tested for COVID 19 and were the results available at the point they were discharged? Yes No No discharges from hospital
Are you able to access medical equipment that you need for COVID19? Yes No Not currently needed
Where you need training in the use of PPE from clinical or PH teams, have you received it? Yes No Not currently needed
Are you receiving training, where needed, on the use of key medical equipment that you need for COVID19? Yes No Not currently needed
Are you aware of, and able to access, primary and community health support, through the offer of mutual aid from the NHS, when needed? Yes No Not currently needed


2. Addition of a new ‘Blue’ PPE Category

This additional ‘BLUE’ category has been added to the PPE questions within the Tracker to improve our understanding of the longer-term picture of PPE supplies within care homes and the level of confidence that each care home has in its PPE supply. This is intended to avoid an overconfident interpretation of the current ‘green’ category by understanding how many providers have a month’s supply of PPE.

We’ve also aligned the wording of the other PPE categories, so they all reflect a defined period of PPE stock level:

Rating Definition
BLUE (new) At least 1 month supply of PPE available and are confident of ongoing supply
GREEN Up to 1 month supply of PPE available or are confident of ongoing supply
AMBER Up to 7 days’ supply of PPE available
RED No PPE supplies or Less than 48hrs supply of PPE available


3. Registration on the government’s testing portal

Care homes can now order tests for all residents and asymptomatic staff via the Government’s testing portal.

  • If you have registered on the site, please reply yes on the capacity tracker.
  • If you have tried to register on the site but not been able to, you should select ‘not able to’.
  • If you have chosen not to register for regular testing, you should select ‘no’.


4. Testing of all residents discharged from hospital to care homes

The Government’s social care action plan announced that anyone discharged from hospital to a care home will be tested prior to discharge. This question asks care homes to confirm that all residents (either new residents or people returning to the home) have been tested prior to discharge and have their results.

We have added a new option to this question to allow you to indicate that you have not had any residents (either new or existing) discharged to your home since 15 April 2020. You should only answer ‘no’ to this question if a person has been discharged to your home since the 15 April 2020 and you were not informed of the result of their test promptly.

5. Access to medical equipment needed for COVID19

Under the offer of mutual aid from the NHS, care homes can be supplied (or reimbursed the costs of, medical equipment needed to enable remote monitoring of people with confirmed or suspected COVID19 infection. If you have been able to access equipment as needed, or do not need additional equipment, then you should answer yes. If you have not needed additional clinical equipment (for example because your home already had the equipment it needed), you should answer ‘not currently needed’.

Types of equipment include pulse oximeters, temperature monitoring equipment and in some cases oxygen.

6. Access to training in the use of PPE and medical equipment.

Care homes should be able to access training and support from the NHS and public health in the use of equipment. This includes use of PPE, but also in the use of equipment for remote monitoring. This is set out in the NHS offer for mutual aid.

If you have not needed training in the use of clinical equipment or PPE (for example because your home already had access to internal training within your organisation, you should answer ‘not currently needed’.

7. Access to mutual aid offer (primary and community health support)

As set out in this letter from the NHS to health bodies, the NHS support offer to care homes includes support and training on infection control, weekly check ins and medication reviews.. Tick yes if you have been offered and accessed this support. If you did not need this support, you should now select ‘not currently needed’. If you have not been offered support or did not receive it, select ‘no’.
Thank you for your continued support in helping the NHS, local authorities work together in responding to the COVID19 pandemic. Your help in providing this data will ensure that we can respond to the ongoing challenges in an effective and timely way.