Monday, April 15, 2024

Lessons to be Learnt for the UK Care Sector after Coronavirus

When the
coronavirus outbreak first reached its peak in the UK during Q2, the primary
focus of both the government and media outlets was targeted on hospitals and
NHS staff members.

However,
figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that high
death rates were particularly prominent amongst care home residents and staff
members, with the number of fatalities in care homes (6,409) exceeding those
recorded in hospitals (6,397) for the first time on May 1st
.

But what
lessons can the UK care sector learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, and why is it
crucial that these are implemented within a relatively short period of time.

  • Social Care Workers and Residents are More Vulnerable than the General Population and Even NHS Workers

In many
ways, this is a relatively obvious assertion given the fact that care home
residents often move freely between these locations and hospitals. Even on a
fundamental level, this increases the risk of infection for both residents and
care workers, creating an increasingly pressing need for effective PPE and
safety standards.

This is
borne out by the numbers, which suggest that care workers in particular have
found themselves at the mercy of the virus since it began to take hold in March
of this year.

More
specifically, social care workers are more than twice as likely to die from
Covid-19 compared to the general population, when adjusted for age
and sex
. This is
not necessarily the case for healthcare sector workers, who don’t appear to
have a significantly raised risk of death compared to the general population.

This needs
to be recognised going forward, both in terms of future pandemics and everyday
infections that impact on the lives and productivity of social care workers
nationwide.

As an
immediate response, the sector must take steps to ensure that care workers have
the necessary PPE to operate safely, especially as they must maintain close
physical content with residents on a daily basis.

  • More Rigid Protocols are Required for Both Employee and Resident Safety

With this
point in mind, greater attention needs to be given to the safety protocols in
place to secure both employee and resident safety.

If Covid-19
has taught us anything, it’s that more rigid safety protocols are required to
safeguard individuals, with specialised transport solutions potentially central
to achieving this objective.

Offered by
service providers such as Allied Fleet, these solutions can be designed
and produced for specific and often diverse requirements, with a view to
optimising community safety and minimising the risk posed to otherwise healthy
social care workers.

Interestingly,
solutions of these types have already been used to safely transport school
children to and from educational facilities, with a view to keeping everyone
safe and healthy.

  • Social Care has Suffered from a Lack of Investment

The issue of
underfunding has been rife in social care for years now, while it was a
hot-button topic during the recent general election.

During the
build up to the vote on December 12th last year, the Labour Party was pledging
to merge the social and healthcare sectors in the UK, while Tory leader Boris
Johnson spoke somewhat vaguely
about “fixing” social care
.

Despite
these variable approaches, there’s no doubt that the coronavirus has
highlighted the impact of underfunding in the social care sector, which must be
classed as a failure of both public and private sectors. Aside from investing
more in PPE as previously suggested, improved staff salaries and contracts
should also be provided as a way of accessing the best and most engaged talent
in the space.

Purely from
a safety and wellbeing perspective, investing in the delivery of palliative
care is also key, as deficiencies in employee training and awareness have
emerged in the wake of Covid-19.

This type of
care is an interdisciplinary medical caregiving approach aimed at optimising
the quality of residents life, while it also helps care workers to understand
the complexities of various conditions and the increased risk of infections.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcockhttps://www.abcmoney.co.uk
Sam heads up Cheshire-based PR Fire, an online platform that has already helped over 10,000 businesses to grab widespread media coverage on their news at an extremely accessible price point.

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