The government must “act now” to recognise the benefits of home care in protecting the UK’s elderly population from coronavirus, the managing director of Carefound Home Care said.
Oliver Stirk (pictured left), who runs the provider’s offices in Yorkshire and Cheshire, made the appeal following a Financial Times’ report that nearly 11,000 more people have died in care homes since the start of the pandemic versus the official figure of 1,043 from the Office of National Statistics.
“The horrors of coronavirus are immediately obvious to those of us who have lost a loved one, but the devastation across care homes is only just becoming clear. We must act now,” the MD said.
“Staff across the care home sector are working flat out to deliver the best care they can to their residents, but there is no avoiding the fact that the risk of cross-infection is high in these settings given the physical proximity and frequent contacts between residents and staff.”
Stirk said that for “too long” hospital discharge teams, NHS trusts and social services teams have seen care homes as the default option for older people requiring care and support.
Often this is due to a lack of understanding of care at home and an absence of any formal way of seeing immediate capacity amongst local home care providers.
“As care providers we can all lobby our local CCGs, local authority teams and spread the word to families. But for things to truly change there needs to be national recognition of the benefits of home care by government, so that CCGs and local authorities across the country have a better understanding and access to a formal capacity planner,” Stirk told Home Care Insight.
“Whether an older person is needing support with daily living or is due to be discharged from hospital, care at home presents a ready-made alternative to a care home which reduces the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus.”