Health Minister announces Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland

On the 10 of September, the Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed his intention to bring forward a new Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland, to help protect care home residents and other vulnerable members of society.

This commitment is in response to the first report from an independent review commissioned to examine the health and social care system’s response to care failings at Dunmurry Manor Care Home which had previously been identified.

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Government publishes Adult Social Care Winter 2020/21 Plan

The government has now published its Winter Plan for Adult Social Care.  This detailed document sets out a plan for social care for adults of all ages for the coming months.  The Plan applies to England only.  It notes that COVID-19 will be circulating at the same time as normal winter flu and viruses, so there is likely to be additional pressure on the health and social care sector.  The Plan specifies the role central government will play as well as setting out its expectations for local authorities, NHS organisations and social care providers. 

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Care homes warned of a rise in COVID-19 cases

The Department of Health and Social Care contacted English care home providers via a letter last Friday to warn of the rise of COVID-19 cases in care homes.  This message was as a result of new data based upon regular testing of staff and residents now undertaken in the majority of care homes in England.   Testing data shows new infections have quadrupled in recent weeks, in particular amongst staff.  The concern is that the infections will spread to vulnerable residents. 

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How many deaths in care have there actually been?

It is no secret that the spread of COVID-19 within the care sector has been the subject of significant media attention and cause for concern amongst those involved with care. But how hard can it be to answer the question: ‘How many deaths on care has there actually been?’ The answer is: it’s all in the detail. Continue reading “How many deaths in care have there actually been?”

“We are facing a secondary pandemic of neurological disease.”

“We are facing a secondary pandemic of neurological disease.”
Robert Stevens Associate Professor of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, US.

With medical science struggling to keep up with coronavirus and its consequences, it will be several years at least before more conclusive studies as to the long term impacts of the pandemic can be produced. The law lags even further behind.

Whilst COVID-19 has largely been considered to be a respiratory disease, more than 300 studies from around the world report a significant number of COVID-19 patients are displaying neurological abnormalities ranging from mild symptoms, such as headaches and loss of smell, to more severe variants commonly associated with mild to moderate brain injury.

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Has COVID-19 resulted in the unauthorised Deprivation of Liberty in care settings?

The data obtained by the CQC and published in the third issue of their publication titled COVID-19 Insight reports a drop in the number of notifications received from providers in respect of Deprivation of Liberty (DoLS) applications from March – May 2020 suggesting on simple reading  of the data that the answer to this question is “yes”.

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COVID-19 and Scottish care homes: an update

On Monday 13 July 2020 Scottish Government reported that no COVID-19 (C-19) deaths had been registered in Scotland on any of the five preceding days. However – on the same day – Scottish Government also reported that public health teams were investigating after seven new cases of coronavirus – picked up by routine testing – had been traced to a single care home in the greater Glasgow area. All seven people who tested positive were asymptomatic at the point of testing.

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Results of the Vivaldi study and implications for infection rates in care residents and staff

On 3 July we saw the publication of the results of the Vivaldi study – a large scale survey which looked at the prevalence of COVID-19 across 9,081 care homes in England and sought to identify key factors affecting the risk of infection among residents and staff.

Result of the survey

The survey was conducted between 26 May and 20 June, and focussed on an estimated 293,301 residents and 441,498 staff (including cleaning, catering and admin staff) in a subset of homes providing care to the elderly (65 and over) and dementia patients.

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How the care sector can take best advantage of business opportunities

There has been no shortage of commentary on the challenges facing care homes during the pandemic, from the number of infections and fatalities to the risk of further waves and lack of testing and PPE, along with the loss of income due to lower occupancy and reduced staff levels and reputational implications. There is speculation that some 25% of care homes may go out of business.

However, whilst these matters are real threats to businesses in the care sector, there are nevertheless some things that are well worth you considering as part of your plan for sustainable growth for a viable care business. The following are just some examples.

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