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Found 136 results
  1. News Article
    Covid patients could be left to languish in hospital and block NHS beds amid delays in setting up “hot” care homes dedicated to receiving them, health chiefs have warned. A plan to reduce care home coronavirus outbreaks by setting up “hot homes” to receive infected people discharged from hospital is running late after dozens of councils missed a government deadline to nominate locations. By the end of October every area of England was supposed to have at least one facility approved for Covid-positive discharges, the government pledged last month. It was part of an attempt to prevent a repeat of the spring pandemic, which killed more than 18,000 residents after thousands of patients were discharged into care homes without tests. But as hospital admissions with Covid continue to rise, only 67 out of 151 local authorities have one set up, according to figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said the delays were adding to discharge problems, causing increasing patient stays and a growing number of “super-stranded” patients. “While the new discharge requirements are well-intentioned and aimed at protecting the most vulnerable in care homes, the challenge of implementing the changes has created blockages across mental health, acute and community beds,” said Miriam Deakin, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 November 2020
  2. Content Article
    Anyone who has the pleasure of virtual meetings in the current climate will hear the phrase "I think you’re on mute" at least two or three times a week. And this may not be the only place where people feel they are ‘on mute’. The dangers we know: voices unheard, frustrations hidden, staff feeling overwhelmed, undervalued. So if this is you, here’s three simple tips that may help: Make time to talk things through 1:1 Create a safe space to talk things through with a trusted colleague, maybe your boss or a colleague, a good friend or a trained coach. The NHS Leadership Academy offers access to trained coaches: https://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/resources/coaching-register/. Make time for a 5–10 minute daily check-in with people around you Less a luxury more a necessity, especially now. A lot of teams have daily huddles in place. It’s a time to listen, a time to ask the right questions and have your say. What you think, what you see; your great ideas matter. Appreciate those around you Nancy Kline recommends a 5 to 1 ratio of praise to criticism. It really does work. And finally be kind to yourself Years ago a brilliant colleague recommended her three treats approach: A daily treat Maybe a special coffee or a just take a bit of fresh air during another long shift A weekly treat Long walk, lovely meal, whatever gets you in a happy place, A monthly treat Very long walk (only joking) – you’ll think of something. "You can buy your employees' time and muscle... but their hearts and minds come free.” Stephen Covey
  3. Content Article
    Problems related to the care home and the company were known well before the Panorama expose in 2016. When the Panorama programme was aired it resulted in immediate closure of one home and all the homes which were operated by Morleigh being transferred to new operators. The Review includes reports of abuse against residents; residents being left to lie in wet urine-soaked bedsheets; concerns from relatives about their loved ones being neglected; reports of there being insufficient food for residents, no hot water and no heating; claims that dozens of residents were sharing one bathroom. Here's a summary of the report's findings: More than 100 residents had concerns raised more than once. More than 200 safeguarding alerts were made for individuals but only 16 went through to an individual adult safeguarding conference. More than 80 whistleblower or similar reports were made concerning issues that put residents at risk. 44 inspections were undertaken at Morleigh Group homes in the three-year period, the vast majority identifying breaches. There was a period of at least 12 months when four of the homes had no registered manager in place. During the three-year period reviewed the police received 130 reports relating to the care homes. A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “We have different procedures and policies in place and have invested time, money and staffing into making sure that we can respond better when concerns are raised.'' “One of the problems was that all the partners had their own policies and procedures but they weren’t integrated. That is probably one of the key issues that we have now addressed.” “The assessment is so different now and the organisations are working much more closely that it reduces the risk dramatically.'' This is an important and long-awaited review. This situation echoes other care home scandals across the UK. I urge everyone to read the full report and reflect on the real root causes of the problem, which I believe go well beyond failings in inter-agency policies and communication. What would your action plan be? How would you monitor it?
  4. News Article
    Not a single resident has contracted the coronavirus at Goodwin House’s small residential facility in Northern Virginia, USA, where about 80 seniors live in homey apartments and keep their own sleeping and meal schedules. There’s been just one case at the Woodlands at John Knox Village in Broward County, Fla., where all 140 residents live in private rooms and are cared for by nurses who earn enough not to take a second job. These facilities, part of a national movement in the US to create less-institutionalised long-term care, stand out in a pandemic that has killed more than 61,000 nursing home residents in the US since March. At “Green House” homes, the best-known nontraditional model, residents are one-fifth as likely to get the coronavirus as those who live in typical nursing homes — and one-twentieth as likely to die of the disease it causes. The model has been praised by academics and doctors and seems far better suited than traditional facilities to stave off the spread of infection and the isolation that has devastated the elderly in recent months. But it remains on the fringes of a $137 billion industry. Read full story Source: The Washington Post, 3 November 2020
  5. News Article
    The government is facing criticism over its guidance on safe visits to care homes in England. Labour and a number of charities have described the suggestions, including floor-to-ceiling screens, designated visitor pods and window visits, as impractical. Alzheimer's Society has said it "completely misses the point". Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the guidance was "non-exhaustive". The updated government advice, which came into effect on Thursday, says care homes - especially those which have not allowed visits since March - "will be encouraged and supported to provide safe visiting opportunities". Labour's shadow care minister Liz Kendall said many care homes would not be able to comply with the government's requirements which meant "in reality thousands of families are likely to be banned from visiting their loved ones". She said instead of suggesting measures such as screens, the government should "designate a single family member as a key worker - making them a priority for weekly testing and proper PPE". Kate Lee, chief executive at Alzheimer's Society, said: "We're devastated by today's new care home visitor guidance - it completely misses the point: this attempt to protect people will kill them." She said the pandemic had left people with dementia isolated and thousands had died. The guidelines "completely ignore the vital role of family carers in providing the care for their loved ones with dementia that no one else can", she added. She said the "prison-style screens" proposed by the government with people speaking through phones were "frankly ridiculous when you consider someone with advanced dementia can often be bed-bound and struggling to speak". That view was echoed by Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, who said she was "acutely aware" that the methods being sanctioned were "unlikely to be useable by many older people with dementia, or indeed sensory loss". Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 November 2020
  6. News Article
    Trusts in more than half English local authorities still do not have an agreed safe place to discharge recovering covid patients to, despite the government asking councils to identify at least one such ‘designated setting’ by the end of October. The situation is leading to an increase in delayed discharges from hospital just as the service comes under increased pressure from the second covid wave and returning elective and emergency demand. In a letter last month, the government told local authorities to identify at least one “designated setting” – typically a care home – which hospitals could discharge covid positive patients to when they no longer need secondary care. The designated setting would also take discharged patients who had not received a negative covid test. The plan is designed to protect residents in other homes, after thousands of care home residents died due to outbreaks of the virus in the spring. But a well-placed source in the care sector told HSJ less than half of the 151 upper tier councils met the 31 October deadline, due to a range of reasons including insurance costs, fear of high mortality rates and reputational damage to the designated homes. It means that in many parts of the country, there are a lack of options when it comes to discharging patients, which is causing a rise in delayed discharges. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 5 November 2020
  7. News Article
    A woman has been arrested after attempting to take her 97-year-old mother out of a care home for lockdown. Qualified nurse Ylenia Angeli, 73, wanted to care for her mother, who has dementia, at home. But when she told staff at the care home, they called the police who then briefly arrested Ms Angeli. The family have not been able to see their elderly relative for nine months, and decided to act ahead of the second national lockdown. Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble, from Humberside Police, said: "These are incredibly difficult circumstances and we sympathise with all families who are in this position." "We responded to a report of an assault at the care home, who are legally responsible for the woman's care and were concerned for her wellbeing. We understand that this is an emotional and difficult situation for all those involved and will continue to provide whatever support we can to both parties." The incident came to light on the day the government announced new rules for families wishing to visit their loved ones in care homes. Under the guidance, issued hours before lockdown, families can meet relatives through a window or in a secure outdoor setting. Visits will need to be booked in advance, but the Department of Health and Social Care advice said care homes "will be encouraged and supported to provide safe visiting opportunities". All care home residents are allowed to receive visits from friends and family during the second national lockdown. Read full story Source: Sky News, 5 November 2020
  8. Content Article
    The review looked back over the period from 2013 to 2016 and catalogues a number of failings and missed opportunities to address the situation. Among its findings are: More than 100 residents had concerns raised more than once. More than 200 safeguarding alerts were made for individuals but only 16 went through to an individual adult safeguarding conference. More than 80 whistleblower or similar reports were made concerning issues that put residents at risk. 44 inspections were undertaken at Morleigh Group homes in the three-year period, the vast majority identifying breaches. There was a period of at least 12 months when four of the homes had no registered manager in place. During the three-year period reviewed the police received 130 reports relating to the care homes. In total there are 15 recommendations made by the review which have been accepted by Cornwall Council and the Safeguarding Adults Board. These include changes to contract management for the provision of care services so that they link with safeguarding and inspections. On whistleblowing the review says there needs to be a clear whistleblowing process for all staff, residents, families and professionals to follow and to ensure that information is shared across all agencies. Other recommendations include better enforcement to ensure action is taken when breaches are identified. And it calls for a “front door” for all alerts made about care providers so that there is no confusion about who should take responsibility to deal with concerns.
  9. News Article
    A senior judge has said friends and family can legally visit their loved ones in care homes, in an apparent challenge to recent government policy that has in effect banned routine visits in areas of high COVID-19 infection. Mr Justice Hayden, vice-president of the court of protection which makes decisions for people who lack mental capacity, said courts are concerned about the impact on elderly people of lockdowns. He has circulated a memo that sets out his analysis that regulations do “permit contact with relatives” and friends and visits are “lawful”. He was responding to guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) last month telling thousands of care homes in England that visiting should be stopped in areas with tier 2 and tier 3 lock down restrictions, apart from in exceptional circumstances such as the end of life. It triggered blanket prohibitions by some councils and sparked anguish from relatives who warn a lack of contact is leading to misery and early death in some cases. Within a week, Gloucestershire county council told care homes in its area to stop visits until next spring. With the England-wide lockdown starting on Thursday, care home providers, families and groups including Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society, have called on ministers to this time make clearer provisions for visiting. Hayden said exceptions in the existing regulations mean contact with residents staying in care homes is lawful for close family members and friends. He said the court of protection was concerned about “the impact the present arrangements may have on elderly people living in care homes,” citing their suffering. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 2 November 2020
  10. News Article
    A total of 338 patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19 were discharged from Scottish hospitals into care homes in the three months from March this year, says a report from Public Health Scotland. The discharges were necessary to free up space in hospitals for COVID-19 patients but some care home owners have claimed that it introduced the virus into their premises, causing almost 2000 deaths across Scotland.2 Public Health Scotland says that most of the 3599 discharges that took place in the busiest month of March were among people who had never been tested. Of the 650 who were tested, 78 were positive, but the discharges still went ahead. Scotland has been found to have the highest rate of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes of any part of the UK. Read full story Source: BMJ, 29 October 2020
  11. News Article
    The government has been warned it is throwing “a lit match into a haystack” by discharging Covid-positive patients to care homes, with politicians demanding that the safety of residents and staff is guaranteed under the new policy. During the first wave of the pandemic, approximately 25,000 hospital patients were sent to care homes – many of whom were not tested – which helped spread the virus among residents. Around 16,000 care home deaths have been linked to COVID-19 since the start of the crisis. The strategy was one of the government’s “biggest and most devastating mistakes” of the crisis, says Amnesty International, and questions have been raised over the decision to introduce a similar policy as the UK’s second wave intensifies. As part of the 2020 adult social care winter plan, the government has called on local authorities and care providers to establish “stand-alone units” – so-called “hot homes” – that would be able to receive and treat Covid hospital patients while they recover from the disease. There is also an expectation that, due to housing pressures and a shortage of suitable facilities, some patients may be discharged to “zoned accommodation” within a home, before being allowed to return to normal living settings once they test negative for the virus. Councils have been told to start identifying and notifying the Care Quality Commission of appropriate accommodation, and to ensure high infection prevention standards are met. Under the requirements outlined by the government, discharged patients “must have a reported Covid test result". However, The Independent revealed on Monday that these rules have not been followed in some cases, with a recent British Red Cross survey finding that 26 per cent of respondents had not been tested before being discharged to a care home. There is also concern whether care homes possess enough adequate personal protective equipment to prevent outbreaks, with the CQC revealing last month that PPE was still not being worn in some sites. Read full story Source: The Independent, 27 0ctober 2020
  12. News Article
    Ministers have denied care home inspectors access to weekly testing for coronavirus – despite fears they could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 as cases rise across the country, The Independent can reveal. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was told by the Department of Health and Social Care last month it could not have access to regular testing for inspection teams as the watchdog prepares for 500 inspections of care homes during the next six weeks. Officials said the teams, who are assessing care conditions for the vulnerable and elderly, did not get close enough to people to present a risk. During the first wave of the virus, after Public Health England initially said there was no risk to care homes, an estimated 16,000 residents died from the virus. At the height of the crisis up to 25,000 NHS patients were discharged to care homes by the NHS, with many not having been tested for the virus. Labour MP Barbara Keeley said: “The refusal of the Department of Health and Social Care to treat CQC inspectors in the same way as other staff going into care homes puts lives at risk.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 20 October 2020
  13. News Article
    The government must immediately deliver a new deal for social care with major investment and better terms for workers, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said, as it warned that the sector is “fragile” heading into a second wave of coronavirus infections. In a challenge to ministers, the regulator’s chief executive, Ian Trenholm, said overdue reform of the care sector “needs to happen now – not at some point in the future”. Boris Johnson said in his first speech as prime minister, in July 2019: “We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all.” But no reform has yet been proposed, and more than 15,000 people have died from COVID-19 in England’s care homes. Trenholm said Covid risked turning inequalities in England’s health services from “faultlines into chasms” as the CQC published its annual State of Care report on hospitals, GPs and care services. The report reveals serious problems with mental health, maternity services and emergency care before the pandemic, and says these areas must not be allowed to fall further behind. The regulator argued that the health system’s response to the pandemic needs to change. After focusing on protecting NHS services from being overwhelmed, health leaders must now adapt to prevent people who need help for non-Covid reasons from being left behind, it said. These include people whose operations were cancelled and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, and people living in deprived areas who have suffered more severely from the impact of Covid. “Covid is magnifying inequalities across the health and care system – a seismic upheaval which has disproportionately affected some more than others,” said Trenholm. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 October 2020
  14. News Article
    A group of experts in nursing and infection prevention and control (IPC) is today warning against the use of IPC measures as a “rationale” for stopping safe and compassionate visits in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a new open letter published in Nursing Times, the specialists say that preventing people from visiting loved ones in social care settings in the name of IPC is a “misinterpretation and at times even abuse” of IPC principles. The letter is the brainchild of independent global health consultant and former Infection Prevention Society (IPS) president, Jules Storr. Among the signatories are five former IPC presidents, current president Pat Cattini as well as incoming president Jennie Wilson. Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, is also on the list, Helen Hughes, chief executive of Patient Safety Learning, as well as leading IPC nurse specialists, nurse academics, a GP and carers. Ms Storr, a nurse by background, and the hub topic lead, said she was motivated to take action after hearing “the most heart-breaking” stories from health professionals and relatives of residents about restricted visits in the UK in the wake of COVID-19. Some had not seen relatives for weeks or months, whilst others were only allowed to see their loved one once a week for 20 minutes at a distance, she said. One individual had told her how when their father had died only one family member was permitted in the home and they were not allowed to sit close enough to hold his hand. Ms Storr said these practices were “absolutely outrageous and wrong from an infection prevention point of view”. Read full story Source: Nursing Times, 16 October 2020
  15. News Article
    An urgent investigation into blanket orders not to resuscitate care home residents has been launched amid fears some elderly people may still be affected by the “unacceptable” practice. After COVID-19 cases rose slightly in care homes in England in the last week, with 116 residences handling at least one infection, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was developing the scope of its investigation “at pace” and it would cover care homes, primary care and hospitals. In March and April, there were reports that some GPs had applied “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) notices to groups of care home residents that meant people would not be taken to hospital for potentially life-saving care. This was being done without their consent or with little information to allow them to make informed decisions, the CQC said. Cases emerged in care homes in Wales and East Sussex. Care homes said the blanket use of the orders did not appear to be as prevalent ahead of a possible second wave of infections and families were reporting fewer concerns, although that could be because visiting restrictions meant they had less access to the homes and were getting less information. There are also concerns that steps may not have been taken to review DNAR forms added to care home residents’ medical files, and so they could remain in place, without proper consent. The CQC review will examine the use of “do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation” (DNACPR) notices, which only restrict chest compressions and shocks to the heart. Dr Rachel Clarke, a palliative care expert in Oxford, has described the CPR process as “muscular, aggressive, traumatic” and said it often resulted in broken ribs and intubation. The review will also investigate the use of broader do not resuscitate and other anticipatory care orders. “We heard from our members about some pretty horrific examples of [blanket notices] early in the pandemic, but it does not appear to be happening now,” said Vic Rayner, the executive director of the National Care Forum, which represents independent care homes. “DNAR notices should not be applied across settings and must be only used as part of individual care plans.” It will also investigate the use of broader do not resuscitate and other anticipatory care orders. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 12 October 2020
  16. News Article
    Sending thousands of older untested patients into care homes in England at the start of the coronavirus lockdown was a violation of their human rights, Amnesty International has said. A report says government decisions were "inexplicable" and "disastrous", affecting mental and physical health. More than 18,000 people living in care homes died with COVID-19 and Amnesty says the public inquiry promised by the government must begin immediately. According to Amnesty's report, a "number of poor decisions at both the national and local levels had serious negative consequences for the health and lives of older people in care homes and resulted in the infringement of their human rights" as enshrined in law. Researchers for the organisation interviewed relatives of older people who either died in care homes or are currently living in one; care home owners and staff, and legal and medical professionals. Amnesty said it received reports of residents being denied GP and hospital NHS services during the pandemic, "violating their right to health and potentially their right to life, as well as their right to non-discrimination". It adds that care home managers reported to its researchers that they were "pressured in different ways" to accept patients discharged from hospital who had not been tested or had COVID-19. Amnesty says the public inquiry into the pandemic should begin with an "interim phase". "The pandemic is not over," it added. "Lessons must be learned; remedial action must be taken without delay to ensure that mistakes are not repeated." Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 October 2020
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