Yesterday, the government published an action plan to support adult social care during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The action plan covers the adult social care sector in England.
The action plan has been created to reduce outbreaks in care homes after government figures revealed over 2,000 care homes have patients infected with the virus.
The plans include boosting access to PPE and to ramp up testing for the care sector and recruit more staff.
Within the document, the government outlines issues ‘never encountered before’:
‘The scale of workforce absences as a result of our attempts to minimise transmission, the need for additional personal protective equipment, the reductions in public transport, and the restrictions on travel all raise issues we have never encountered before.’
‘It is tough. Tough for individuals, tough for families, tough for care providers.’
With the ‘at-risk’ category being identified as those over the age of 60, and mortality rates from COVID-19 increasing as the age demographic increases, care homes are at-risk institutions.
The government further states in the action plan:
‘We know that people receiving care are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.’
‘Around two thirds of people living in care homes for the over 65s are over 85 years old and it is estimated that around 70% will be living with dementia.’
After we asked a GP working in care homes during the crisis, she stated that in her opinion, the spread of COVID-19 in care homes is partly due to the difficulties in controlling the movements of patients with dementia.
Although the action plan is for during the COVID-19 crisis, the government have further stated that there is still a real need for a long-term plan for social care:
‘We know that this doesn’t reduce the need for a long-term action plan for social care.’
‘Putting social care on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, is one of the biggest challenges that we face as a society.’
‘There are complex questions to address, which is why we have invited cross-party talks.’
‘These will take place at the earliest opportunity in light of the current circumstances.’
‘The government will then bring forward a plan for social care for the longer term.’
The government action plan covers the following areas:
Controlling the spread of infection in care settings
Support and advice on how to keep care settings safe
Provision and use of PPE
Safe discharge from the NHS to social care settings
Supporting the workforce
Security and wellbeing
Supporting social care and quality of life
Collaboration across services
Local and national oversight
Monitoring and communications
The action plan can be viewed here on the gov.uk website: Government Social Care Action Plan