26 March 2020

Covid-19 – Health and Social Care Update

The Covid-19 situation is moving rapidly, especially in relation to health and social care. This update gives the situation on 25 March 2020. It looks at:

  • the March update from the Care Quality Commission with advice for Care Homes and dental practices
  • a fundraising appeal from the Alzheimer’s Society about dementia care during the crisis
  • the findings from a recent sector survey.

The Care Quality Commission’s monthly report

CQC issued their monthly update on 25 March 2020.

It confirms that routine inspections of Care Homes remain suspended. However, they will continue to monitor services using data and information. They will visit if they think there is a risk of harm or abuse.

They have confirmed that services do not have to notify individual Covid-19 cases. They do have to notify when the day-to-day running of the business is affected by the virus.

Specific forms have been introduced for reporting events of services unable to run safely and properly.

Dental practices that are closing temporarily and are only seeing emergency cases do not need to send CQC a notification unless the practice is closing permanently.

The public at large is encouraged to report any concerns over health and social care services direct to CQC via their website.

Dementia care during the Covid-19 pandemic

On 24 March 2020 the Alzheimer’s Society launched a fundraising appeal to help them set up a new service called “Companion Calls” so that people with dementia will not have to face this crisis alone.

The service will involve volunteers telephoning vulnerable people with dementia to chat, check on their wellbeing and, if necessary, refer them to other services such as the Society’s Dementia Contact Support Line.

Under government advice, people over 70 in the UK are asked to stay at home for an extensive period of time. This group of people includes around 700,000 people with dementia.

It is likely that they will completely cut off from their families, their communities and the networks that they rely on. Indeed, some may be cut off from social contact completely.

It is of course also a problem that many people within that group who suffer from dementia forget that they are supposed to be remaining in self-isolation or, indeed, that there is a crisis at all.

Those individuals are in even more need of help than ever. This is what Companion Calls seeks to provide.

Findings from a sector survey on the impact of the #Covid-19 crisis

Health and social care analysts Carterwood published a survey on social care on 25 March 2020.

It indicates that the virus has so far had a very limited effect on occupancy of social care services. 88% of providers who responded have seen no reduction at all so far. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some operators are even seeing a rise in occupancy right now.

Supplier costs have started to rise with demand. 55% of operators have seen little increase but 15% have already experienced dramatic increases.

More than half of operators are still expecting a reduction in occupancy over the next 3 months. However, the proportion forecasting no reduction at all is significantly larger now than it was two weeks ago (43% against 22%).

It seems the sector is still positive. 85% of respondents view the care market with slight or greater confidence. However, as the economic situation becomes more precarious, the sector is now viewing investment with caution. 44% of those who responded said that they have already changed their 2020 investment plans.

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About the Author
Derek Jones, Partner

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