During the last weeks of April 2020, the BBC news announced:- “A third of all Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are now happening in care homes.”
According to latest news reports, about 16,000 UK care home residents are believed to have died from Covid-19 in outbreaks that have struck 38% of care homes in England and 59% in Scotland.
There is no doubt that care homes have faced extraordinary challenges during the Covid-19 crisis and although their dedicated staff work hard to manage these the care home environment, by its very nature, poses ongoing difficulties for risk management and infection control. For example:-
communal activities and communal areas;
multiple members of staff;
agency staff moving between homes;
patients being discharged into the care home community from hospitals;
care home residents with certain medical conditions (e.g. dementia) not being able to easily comply with risk reducing measures, etc
The lessons we are learning about Covid-19 are likely to have an impact on the choice of care and many families might now be considering the reduced risk and benefits of other care options.
At ILA.life we can advise and identify suitable support or care to enable people to stay in their own homes for longer. We understand the importance of early intervention which can often significantly delay and even avoid the necessity of going into a care home.
One of the simplest and lowest risk options is Household Support.
We, at ILA.life, find suitable support workers, carry out the necessary checks and refer them to people who want a bit of extra help with all kinds of household chores, as well as providing valuable companionship. With only one person visiting, rigorous infection control is more easily achieved.
If an enhanced level of care is needed, such as personal care, medication support etc, where qualified/trained care workers are involved, Hourly Care (Domiciliary) from a Care Agency may be more appropriate. There is less flexibility with this option and whilst the agencies do try to keep the number of staff to a minimum it is not always possible to do so. Our experience at ILA.life means that we can advise on this form of care too.
In certain circumstances, where 24 hour care is required, the ability of elderly care at home is still achievable by a ‘Live in’ Care option. This means that the carer lives with the person who needs the care. The person can choose when to have help and if the carer is not needed at any time, the carer has their own room that they can use. With this option there are fewer people entering the house which reduces the risk of infection.
Covid-19 is beginning to influence people’s choice of care. ILA.life provides qualified healthcare advisers that work with older people to define, organise and monitor the support needed for the elders and to find the right choice at the right time.