A group of care leaders has called on the government to publish a comprehensive plan to support social care through the coronavirus crisis.
The letter to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, is signed by Kate Lee, CEO Alzheimer’s Society, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, Marie Curie, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK, Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England and Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive, Independent Age.
The letter states: “We are appalled by the devastation which coronavirus is causing in the care system and we have all been inundated with desperate calls from the people we support, so we are demanding a comprehensive care package to support social care through the pandemic.”
A series of measures are called for as part of a comprehensive care package, including:
PPE equipment available to care homes;
priority testing for care home staff and people being discharged from hospital into care homes;
support to ensure contact can be maintained between care home residents and their families;
good palliative and end of life care for people dying in the care system; and
a daily update on coronavirus deaths in the care system just as in the NHS.
Care England has estimated there have been a 1,000 care home deaths since the onset of the virus, far higher than official statistics suggest.
The call for support comes after Excelcare Holdings Chairman/CEO Osman Ertosun wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week to share the enormous strain being placed on social care providers by the outbreak.
Osman said the “contribution, long hours and commitment” of the social care workforce during the crisis had been “downgraded” and “not emphasised enough” by government and also highlighted the need for priority testing of carers so that they can feel “more secure when they come to work”.
The leader of 33 care home homes, which cares for over 2,500 vulnerable, revealed that 21 of its residents were confirmed as COVID-19 infected, with only 4 of these tested in its care homes and the remaining 17 tested in hospital.
Osman added that 118 residents were currently exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms but had not been tested and had suffered 51 deaths during a three-week period, two of which were confirmed as COVID-19 with rest unconfirmed as they were untested.