Edinburgh University has conducted a study into the effect of Covid 19 on care homes and the risk of it happening again. The research has come out that for every 20 extra beds, there is an increased risk of those most susceptible being struck down again. It is increased 20 fold and those with more than 60 – 80 residents can increase the risk to between 83 and 100%.
This makes for uncomfortable reading, however if the care home has less than 20 residents the risk is reduced down to 5%……
The problem is how can the risk be managed? The care homes want to keep the residents and their relatives on a regular contact. Having worked round care homes with senior management, I know how hard the managers have to work to make accessibility easy for relatives as it can help the staff and the residents who will miss their family.
At the peak of the Covid 19 pandemic over 25,000 elderly patients were released back into the care homes. No one is blaming the NHS as they had to use the resources they had to the best of their ability but there has been a total failure of a clear strategy to help those who need it the most.
I am not blaming the care homes as they do a marvellous job and are some of the most patient, caring people I have come across but it is the revolving door of the agency staff. Surely it would be better to employ the care workers on a decent wage and then they will stay….that way it will reduce the risk of new people coming and going all the time. The elderly always feel better with the same faces caring for them.
Almost 30,000 died during the Covid 19 pandemic in care homes and that is someone’s beloved nan, grandad, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, mum or dad and it is a very sad statistic, but one that really the government should have learnt from as politicians have a fondness for the “lessons learned” speech….so they need to put their money where their mouth is and show that the lessons have truly been learnt.
A clear set of strategies is needed….not just leaving it to each individual care home and it was really outrageous that struggling care homes were given a bonus of £1,000 to take in elderly hospital patients despite them maybe having coronavirus. 16 homes across Birmingham took this incentive and there needs to be a study as to whether doing that resulted in a higher than expected number of deaths. One care home provider Digby Manor Care in Erdington refused the bribe and the care home stayed free of Covid 19. The manager there should be praised for not only refusing a bribe but for ensuring that none of her residents became infected.
Maybe the government would have a better idea if they asked this lady how she managed it, and put those who successfully managed their care homes on a government board advising how to deal with Covid 19 and the elderly.
I do not however believe that the government is solely responsible for private care homes not having enough PPE, as they are private companies and should really have provided their own but quite often money comes into it….as it always must do. The government in preparing for for the 2nd wave must offer the homes an interest free loan to purchase the PPE and thereby ensuring that they are covered. It is all to convenient to blame each other over the PPE failings, but the government did not help and should have offered help from day one in the form of cash advancements or purchasing the PPE on their behalf, and charging the normal rate as we know that some companies put up the cost of their equipment 3 and 4 times the going rate. Shame on them for profiting from the misery.
We must above all make sure that British industry can make and supply the PPE, as we have seen comments and videos of the equipment come from Turkey and China and they were of poor quality, or even worse just a pile of rags that could not even be used in the slightest….All monies paid to these foreign companies should be with-held and a legal warning on the contract that by sending such low standard items will result in costs being with-held and blacklisted from any future government contracts…..after all it is better to buy British and companies did come together to provide the equipment….so maybe along with getting those care home managers who successfully kept the pandemic at bay, they should invest in companies who will provide the PPE.
I know it is a lot of investment talk but the United Kingdom will profit all round. We will profit from clear and sound advice from the experts, and from investing in companies we are paying British workers, keeping them in a job and they in turn will spend their money back into the economy.
For the life of me I do not know why we are so dependent on other countries when we should really be providing for ourselves. It is ridiculous and a solution must be found and quickly as the 2nd wave is already on the horizon.