Mitch Miller, managing director of ENA Care Group, a provider of live-in care throughout England and Wales, shares his thoughts on why he believes that live-in care has been, and remains, the safest form of care during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an acutely painful situation for all of us to watch and, from our perspective at ENA, it has led to an increase in enquiries as families search for an alternative option to their relative either remaining in their current care home or moving into a care home for the first time.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, care homes – more than any other type of social care provision – have become synonymous with higher-than-average infection and death rates. The combination of older, frail and often already unwell people sharing communal living space; hospital-to-care home discharge policies that in the early stages of the pandemic involved no testing prior to discharge; inadequate testing capacity within care homes; and failures in personal protective equipment (PPE) provision have proved to be disastrous, leaving numerous families either bereaved or extremely worried.
Public Health England’s ‘Pilot point prevalence survey of COVID-19 among domiciliary care staff in England’ that was published in July 2020, said:
“The prevalence of COVID-19 among active domiciliary care workers is in line with the general population at this time and not a higher prevalence as observed in studies of front-line healthcare workers and care home staff observed earlier in the epidemic.”
This ties in with the anecdotal evidence that live-in care, which we specialise in providing, is indeed safer than a care home, most notably because:
- One constant carer, living and working in the person’s own home and able to isolate/shield with the person as recommended, means that there is a low infection risk given the minimal or non-existent contact with other individuals.
- Because of the lower numbers of staff involved, PPE is easier to source and provide for all of our live-in carers.
- Testing, if needed, is also easier for us to obtain for our clients and live-in carers.
To date, at ENA, we have only had one case of COVID-19 where the individual was discharged from hospital into our care with the virus. We have had no cases amongst our frontline staff team. This is largely due to our model of care and strict infection control procedures that all of our live-in carers are required to follow.
One of the most advantageous aspects of live-in care in these current uncertain times is that it’s future-proofed. None of us know what the next weeks and months may hold in relation to controlling COVID-19, but with live-in care, individuals and their loved ones don’t need to worry.
If further lockdowns are needed, or strict isolation is recommended again for older and vulnerable people, anyone who has a live-in carer will remain safe, well cared for, and supported at home.