National Care Forum eyes post- Covid vision of adult social care

The National Care Forum has called on the industry and the government to establish a new vision of adult social care that puts it on an equal footing with the NHS in the popular imagination. Policy director Liz Jones (pictured) said

social care is seen as a poor relation to the health service and called for action that sits alongside any funding reforms resulting from the Covid-19 crisis to change that perception. “While funding is really important in long-

term reform, it’s not only about money. We need policies designed to support social care as an integral part of people’s lives in the same way the government thinks the NHS is,” she told The Care Home Environment.

“The NHS helps people get well and social

care helps people live their lives well. We need to be seen as equal partners with equal investment and equal focus - social care needs to be front and centre alongside the health service.” Jones said the sector needs a sustainable

vision that ensures three things: wellbeing, independence, and the participation and voice in society of those in receipt of care and support. “Any new model needs to ensure care

homes are part of the community, whether it’s a dedicated care setting or home care. We need our current and future care arrangements to help people remain part of the community in setting that are not isolated or shut off - we have seen what has happened in some more ‘closed’ settings,” she added. Jones said the sector should build on the

digitalisation gains made during the pandemic by continuing to embrace technology that enables better care outcomes. “There is a whole range of tech-related

systems that can enhance the delivery of care, such as video calling, virtual medical appointments and electronic care systems, which enable resident insight at the touch of a button and to track changes in wellbeing much more easily than through paper records,” she added. “Acoustic monitoring that can monitor

people at night and Circadian rhythm lighting, which helps match natural daylight and help with mood of people with dementia, can be built into new care settings”.

Exemplar out to set example with £2m Newcastle nursing home

Complex needs care home provider Exemplar Health Care is to open its first facility in north-east England this summer following a £2m investment. Located on Grainger Park Road in Newcastle’s west, Tyne Grange is being built on the site of the former Hillfield nursing home. The new facility will support 22 younger adults who live with complex needs including neuro-disabilities, Huntington’s disease, brain injury, stroke and others. Every bedroom will come with an

ensuite wet room and there will be two one-bedroom apartments on the ground floor to support more independent living. Tyne Grange will also feature communal spaces such as landscaped gardens for residents and their visitors. The care home is recruiting a total of 100 local staff, such as nurses, support workers, administrators, kitchen and domestic team members, and others.

Hospital discharge guidance would ‘form key plank’ of a Covid inquiry

UK guidance on discharging hospital patients to care homes is likely to form a key plank of a future public inquiry into the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to law firm Kingsley Napley.

In a note on the crisis, Kingsley Napley

partner Sophie Kemp said the “worrying correlation” between discharges from hospitals under the guidance, the incubation period of Covid-19, and the accelerated care home death rate, will “almost certainly” bring the guidance into the scope of any future public inquiry. On 2 April, the government published guidance on the discharge of patients from hospitals to care homes. The guidance, ‘Admission and Care of

Patients during Covid-19 Incident in a Care Home’, advised that Covid-19 patients, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, can

be safely cared for in a care home if the guidance is followed. “Controversially, the guidance expressly

permitted the return of hospital patients to care homes without the need for a test: put simply, the guidance allows for discharge of asymptomatic patients to care homes, with only social distancing measures in place, whilst symptomatic patients are isolated, with staff tasked to immediately instigate full infection control measures,” said Kemp. “The guidance to care home staff was

that those coming into contact with a Covid-19 patient while not wearing PPE could remain at work,” she added. Kemp noted that the guidance

“immediately alarmed" those working in the care sector. They included the National Care Forum, who “highlighted their concerns about the practicality of social distancing in care

July 2020 •

homes, the risks posed to unprotected staff (whose exposure to symptomatic patients was not likely to be short lived as the guidance assumes), and whether full consideration had been given to the availability of PPE in the care sector,” she added. Kemp said care home guidance was likely

to be one of four areas that would form part of the terms of reference of any future Covid-19 inquiry.

The others include early decision

making/pandemic planning; PPE guidance; and PPE supply and resourcing. “When the crisis subsides the calls will be

harder to resist. For one thing, the political pressure is likely to mount. Perhaps more importantly, the government is also likely to find itself compelled to hold an inquiry by the obligations imposed on it by…the European Convention of Human Rights,” she said.


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