Our Higos national practice care leader John Whittleston has spoken out on Covid19 and how the pandemic is and shall continue to effect the Care industry well into the future. At Higos we understand that the Care industry is facing its most challenging time, the pandemic has changed our personal lives and businesses alike, but one of the most predominant effects will be in the Care sector.
This sector has been politically and widely overlooked and it’s only now it’s finally starting to receive the recognition it deserves alongside the NHS. The main overlook is the struggle for care homes to be seen in comparison to the NHS, yet there are more social care workers providing long term care to the vulnerable than in the NHS. Ultimately this will lead to questions as to why it has be so overlooked.
Other issues has been tackling the coronavirus itself in care homes, the support carers have needed has been unfortunately very late and inadequate. Most of this has been derived from the lack of availability of PPE to care homes, or the failure to provide adequate barrier nursing, thus resulting in staff illness. There has been a lack of public transport for staff to get to work which has meant there has also been limited ways of staff physically getting to work.
Death Reporting In The Care Sector
While deaths in hospitals has declined, the outbreak has continued to rise in care homes. Social care workers have had twice the amount of death from Covid 19 than the wider public. Yet the lack of testing for COVID19 in the UK has made it very likely to have led to a distortion of the death toll reporting in care homes. The weekly deaths in care homes were up 325% in mid-April over the previous 5 year average, yet only 1/3 of those deaths is attributed to COVID19. Because the virus is less likely to kill the fit and healthy it is reasonable to suggest that the increase in deaths in the home is more likely to impact those receiving social care on health grounds, this in turn is likely to affect the demand for home care in the future.
The care industry will inevitably be hit hard by the Coronavirus. In 2018 there were 459,385 residential care beds in the UK. Before the pandemic, 0.5% of beds were vacated on a weekly basis as a result of death. Currently 1.4% of beds are vacated on a weekly basis and this figure is continuing to rise. It’s likely those beds will remain empty due to people being reluctant to move into a home during the pandemic.
Eventually the amount of empty beds from having so many Covid 19 deaths in care homes will mean a loss of income. The knock on effect in the loss of profit will lead to the underlying question of who will want to send someone into a care home where there has been reports of Covid 19, especially deaths related to it. The world will remember the care homes that had the biggest losses from Covid 19 and the public will question why? The wider issue then follows in the loss of staff, or even staff willing to work in the care sector going forward. It’s no secret the care sector isn’t highly paid which will only add to the knock on effect of people willing to work in this area especially in the future.
Long term this will result in the likelihood of the closure of care homes, creating a loss of jobs, thus increasing pressure on those that are left in the industry. It’s possible that, as we start to consider how we pay for the pandemic, social care will once again fall to the foot of the list for support and care providers will continue to struggle as they have.
Covid -19 has and will continue to have a long lasting impact on the Care sector. Questions about the future of the Care industry and how care homes will be able to continue in the future will continue to be raised and will continue to be under a mass amount of pressure. With our Care providers on the frontline providing critical healthcare to our care homes in the UK, there will be sparks for concern. Could it be that the coronavirus could end the demand for care home beds from the lack of faith in the system?
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