The National Care Forum (NCF) and the University of Leeds have published their findings from a project examining the experiences of frontline care home and NHS staff caring for older people with COVID-19 during the first few months of the pandemic.
Funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, the report – LESS COVID: Learning by Experience and Supporting the Care Home Sector during the COVID-19 pandemic – provides an account of key lessons learnt, so far, by frontline care home and NHS staff.
Liz Jones, Policy Director at the NCF, said: ”This research is essential reading for all those involved in providing care for older people in this new world of COVID-19. It highlights the lessons learnt from the frontline of care at the height of the pandemic and offers some valuable insights and recommendations to help us respond effectively to future waves of COVID-19.”
The research initiated by the NCF presents helpful strategies to manage the care and support of older people in care homes during subsequent waves of COVID-19 outbreaks.
The findings of the report also highlight systemic issues associated with underfunding, limited integration across health and social care and a lack of wider recognition and value of the contribution of the care home sector and (importantly) its staff.
Liz added: “Many of the suggestions in this research involve actions that can be grasped by the sector; however, there are levers and actions needed that are beyond the control of the sector and need support and action from government. These include resolving the ongoing testing and PPE supply uncertainties; working in genuine partnership with the sector and putting the individual needs of older people at the heart of policymaking.”
Susan Kay, Director of the Dunhill Medical Trust, added: “We’ve all been impacted by the COVID crisis – but older adults have been most severely affected. Capturing lessons learnt about the symptoms, progression and management of this viral infection in the older population and sharing these with care homes that have not yet experienced an outbreak of the virus is crucial. We have been pleased to be able to support this work and hope that its recommendations can really make a difference.”