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ADASS boss warns of rising number of deaths at home as vulnerable cancel care visits

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The president of ADASS has warned of a rising number of deaths among people who receive care at home, as they cancel their visits out of fear they will catch coronavirus.

James Bullion told the Health and Social Care Committee on Tuesday that he feared that the number of deaths could “mirror” those occurring in care homes as the crisis continues.

He said ADASS members have seen around 10% of service users stopping their home care visits to try and protect themselves from infection, but this could have serious health risks and consequences in itself.

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“There is a kind of mirror here that’s potentially going on in home care, which is the mirror of the deaths in care homes caused by people maybe taking action to protect themselves from infection, but not necessarily taking care of their health and wellbeing in the intervening period, and I think we need to look at that,” he said.

“People are furloughing their care to protect themselves because of those worries.”

Bullion also told the committee, chaired by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, that the government’s response to infection control in the home care sector has been “inadequate” and that there needs to be a “separate plan” for domiciliary care.

“When we look at the figures, both for deaths in the community and also for transmission and outbreaks, we do have a significant problem in home support,” he said.

“If I have a gentle criticism of the recent funding for infection control, we are almost tagging on home support in that recent plan to say ‘by the way, councils, try and do something with some of this money for home support’.

“It’s really inadequate, actually, the response so far, and we do need a separate plan for home care to protect staff and protect people. We are not finished with waves of COVID-19 in the social care sector in my view.”

Bullion added that there is a “huge part” of testing to play in reassuring both staff and people in receipt of care that the person coming into their home has had a recent test and a negative result.

“There isn’t widespread testing,” he added. “It is growing, but the care workforce is 1.6 million in this country, so we are nowhere near the level of testing that’s required,” he said.

Tags : ADASScoronavirusdeathsJames Bullion
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

2 Comments

  1. Home care providers are experiencing a huge drop in revenue due to suspended/cancelled care and support packages as a result of COVID fear. This has been further impacted due to a huge drop in new referrals. Whilst on a skype meeting this morning with care providers and local authority, Local Authority commissioners confirmed that the vast majority of people being discharged from hospital needing care and support at home had refused involvement of social services and home care support due to COVID fears.

    Home-care providers will not be able to sustain overheads and capacity will hemorrhage from the sector if care staff have no work to earn a living. As mentioned in the article, should a second wave of infections hit this woulde catastrophic if providers start to fold and capacity within the sector is dropped. Very concerning that Home-care is constantly undervalued, underfunded and is only considered in retrospect when sector crisis is already in full swing. Feedback from all contacts and associates tells me managers are on burn out and Home-care workers feel undervalued and let down by politicians and a general lack of societal recognition for the risks they take and the job they do……

  2. Totally agree!! Testing in Social Care needs to be regular and much faster than the current system. There is no pattern in delivery of testing or the results. The portal for ordering tests for Care Home Staff and Residents was opened over a week ago & I have yet to hear of a single home having yet received their delivery.

    In a nutshell the principals are good but the logistics and delivery of service need improvement to the Social Care sector need an urgent review and rectification.

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