• Will the coronavirus crisis stop people seeking residential care?

    Will the coronavirus crisis stop people seeking residential care?

    The impact of the coronavirus in care homes has been devastating.

    The latest figures suggest more than 11,600 people have died from coronavirus in UK care homes.

    In the week ending 1 May, the number of deaths in care homes from all causes (6,409) exceeded the number of deaths in hospital (6,397) for the first time since the start of the outbreak. That’s an increase of 159% deaths compared to the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.[1]

    Leaders of the care sector have described the Government’s response to the outbreak in the residential homes as “totally inadequate” and have predicted huge long-term effects on the mental health of care workers.

    Lack of testing, wrongly discharging patients into care homes, the inability to isolate infected residents effectively and the lack of protective equipment (PPE) have all compounded this already highly challenging period and have seen the rate of infection rapidly rise.

    The pandemic and its impact on care home residents and their staff raises many questions around how people will perceive care homes in future.

    A survey conducted by The Policy Exchange and Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) revealed a growing crisis of trust in the social care system as a result of COVID-19.[2]

    • 31% of people polled said they were less likely to seek residential care for their elderly relatives than before the crisis.

    • 40% of over 65’s said they were less likely to consider it for themselves.

    Care homes play a vital role in providing end of life care for more than 400,000 elderly and vulnerable people across the UK, meaning these results are extremely worrying.

    It suggests that without dramatic intervention it will be difficult to regain public trust in this critical service.

    Where Government’s have failed to deliver on their promises to provide long term funding solutions to care homes in the past, action is needed now more than ever.

    Fortunately, there is some light at the end of the tunnel as the number of deaths in care homes is declining and testing is becoming more widespread.

    While it is uncertain how long it may take to rebuild trust in the care sector, it is important to remember the incredible work done by its staff who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to continue to care for the most vulnerable people in our society.

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