Scotland’s regulator for adult social care is in the process of completing an inquiry into how it has supported care at home services during the pandemic.
The Care Inspectorate said the inquiry, due to published in three to four weeks, will give a “national picture” of the impact of the pandemic on decision making on care at home and how home care was prioritised during the pandemic.
Giving evidence to MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, the regulator’s executive director of Scrutiny and Assurance Kevin Mitchell said the inquiry will also monitor the impact on changes to packages that were delivered and how engagement has – or has not – continued with service users.
“We hope that that information will give us a sense of what we need to focus on and where. That work informs our intelligence-led, targeted and proportionate approach to inspection,” he added.
There are just over 1,000 stand-alone care-at-home services registered with the Care Inspectorate, and more than 1,000 additional services providing housing support. Some 16% of notifications of COVID-19 cases—around 169— were received from those services, according to the watchdog.
Chief executive Peter Macleod said: “That provides evidence of the monitoring and awareness that we have of what is happening in them. We received many inquiries about, for example, the supply of PPE and practice around care at home.”
Macleod explained that the report will guide the regulator as to what additional inspection, intervention and other means it needs to employ to ensure that the home care sector has responded and will continue to respond to the increased challenges of infection prevention and control.
The Care Inspectorate said its contacts with care at home services “significantly increased” during the pandemic and it continued to monitor notifications from those services, to monitor complaints and to analyse the data it received through notifications of outbreaks and deaths.
Mitchell said: “The enhanced contact with services included careat home services, which made up part of the almost 36,000 contacts that we had with 6,700 services between April and July. It was very important that we did that.
“Supporting the services and signposting them when support was required, and providing advice and guidance, was part of that contact and it included, critically, care at home services.”