A breach in the defences?
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
New figures from other European countries suggest that about half of Covid-19 deaths have occurred in care homes, and that the UK has not been including deaths in care homes when compiling its own statistics.
There could be a number of reasons for this, data-lag being one of them; NHS figures may be more immediately available than those from care homes but one would have thought they’d be starting to make their presence felt by now, and perhaps they are.
Another reason is that many care home residents are nearing the end of life in any case and may have died untested. Given the demand for and limited supply of testing kit it may seem reasonable to some that frail elderly people with multiple co-morbidities should find themselves at the end of the queue.
But in this quite desperate time, invoking the quite desperate remedy of nationwide ‘lock-down’, one would think that accurate data was of paramount importance, both in terms of decision-making and of public trust; if there is uncertainty, let it at least be acknowledged.
And while resources may be limited, resulting in working age adults being afforded more protection as a pragmatic priority, and while it may be valid to leave care home residents out of the equation in terms of ‘flattening the curve’, what about the people who are looking after them? Of all occupational groups, care workers are surely most at risk, ill-equipped as they are, their numbers shrinking as more self-isolate to protect both residents and their own families. Those who can work on with quiet heroism have to work harder, for longer, all the while having to cope with innumerable ethical dilemmas with only the vaguest of unapplyable guidance from those at the top of the chain.
We are asking so much of our social care workforce and they are receiving relatively little support. We shouldn’t be surprised if social care turns out to be our Achilles heel..
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.