The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on care homes has been revealed in a new CQC report.
The COVID-29 Insight report, is the first in a series of discussion documents assessing key issues affecting health and social care during the crisis.
CQC CEO, Ian Trenholm, said: “This new insight document begins to gather together what providers are telling us about the impact of COVID-19 – information gathered through direct feedback from staff and people receiving care, from our new regular data collection from services who provide care for people in their own homes, and insight from our regular conversations with providers and partners.”
Citing Public Health England data, the report shows that more than a third (36%) of care homes had been affected by COVID-19 as of 10 May, although the latest data as of 8 May suggests that deaths in care homes are reducing slightly with levels having peaked in April and begun to decline this month.
By region, the North East, London and North West have been the worst hit by COVID-19 outbreaks with 47%, 42% and 41% of homes, respectively, infected. The South West has reported the fewest number of outbreaks, with 26% of homes infected.
The report notes ongoing difficulties in obtaining PPE, highlighting the shifting of concerns to the impact of purchasing costs on operators’ financial viability.
Concerns are also highlighted around testing, particularly on communication and a lack of clarity on where to go for it. The CQC booked 25,000 tests for staff before handing delivery of the service on to the DHSC.
The CQC also notes the heavy emotional toll the pandemic has had on the care workforce, commenting: “Morale is low in adult social care, and care staff have felt undervalued compared with their healthcare counterparts.”
The regulator also states that some registered managers are suffering from “burn out and extreme anxiety”, with its teams dealing with an increase in those experiencing distress due to multiple deaths and financial worries.
Additionally, the report reveals the significant impact the pandemic is having on the finances of operators, commenting: “The troubling financial reality for some providers is that they may now face a shortfall in people using their services due to increased deaths and not being able to admit new admissions.”
The CQC also highlights examples of insurance companies informing providers who knowingly take COVID-19 positive patients being in breach of their policies. Other providers have also been unable to renew their insurance, posing a risk to their ability to care for residents.