Do you really want your elderly loved to move to a care home during the Covid-19 epidemic?
Despite the tireless effort and dedication of care home staff and the infection controls measures in place, coronavirus is continuing to spread like wildfire through the nation’s care homes. Indeed, with nearly a quarter of total reported deaths in the UK from Covid-19 (or suspected Covid-19) having occurred in care homes, serious questions are now being asked about how the government could have allowed this largely avoidable tragedy to have arisen.
Are care homes a safe place for the elderly during the coronavirus epidemic?
Many older people fear they may be at greater threat of catching coronavirus in a care home than in hospital. Indeed, in what the broadcaster, John Humphreys, has described as the governments’ “wicked disregard for care homes”, it is clear that many older patients have been transferred from hospitals to care homes without being tested for Covid-19. This has led to Covid-19 spreading throughout many care homes and infecting large numbers of both patients and staff. Even more worrying is the news that the CQC (the independent care regulator) is launching an investigation into whether some hospitals may have seriously breached government regulations by failing to inform care homes that some patients being transferred into their care were already suffering from Covid-19.
The current death rate in care homes is four times higher than the five-year average
The CQC are also reported to be investigating whether increasing numbers of care home residents are dying from non-coronavirus conditions caused by a lack of visits from GPs. Figures published recently by the Office for National Statistics show that the current death rate in care homes is four times higher than the five-year average, with only one-third of the total deaths directly attributable to Covid-19.
For many years care homes have been regarded as the logical next step for elderly men or women who are no longer able to look after themselves properly at home. However, the coronavirus epidemic has seriously undermined the public’s confidence and trust in care homes as a safe refuge for their elderly loved ones, but is there a better and safe alternative?
The safe and practical alternative to residential care – live-in care in one’s own home
For those not able to look after an elderly loved one themselves, the safest alternative is to arrange for them to have live-in care in their own home. Live-in care involves a full-time carer moving into a spare room in your loved one’s home and staying with them for several weeks at a time. When they need to take a break, a relief carer will then take their place. As well as providing welcome companionship, their live-in carer will take care of the shopping, cooking and house-keeping and support your loved one with their personal care needs, such as washing, showering and dressing
The difficulty of finding a competent and reliable live-in care service
While you can advertise privately for a live-in carer, it is likely to prove expensive and time- consuming and even then there is no guarantee you will find a good one. And then what do you do if they want to take a holiday? It’s back to square one.
You may want to try your luck with a carer introduction agency, but all they will do is send you someone they have found on the internet, whom they have probably never met and then leave you to sort out the details of the care yourself, while charging you a substantial weekly commission just for having found you someone. No one from management will ever phone you or visit your loved one to check whether the carer is doing a good job or not. Worst of all, because carer introduction agencies are not subject to any independent regulation or inspection, there no way of checking whether the agency is good, bad or indifferent – you are completely on your own. If you decide the first carer they send is not suitable, they won’t try and find out why, they will just send you someone else and leave you to get on with it.
The safest way to find a good live-in carer is by approaching a CQC-registered care provider like Chesterford Homecare
Care providers registered with the CQC are regularly inspected and are judged on a number of criteria. They have to demonstrate that the service they are providing is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. Every time the CQC inspects a care provider, it produces an official report and gives the agency an official rating, which can either be Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate .
Anyone looking for live-in care can check on the CQC website (www.cqc.org.uk) to confirm whether a given care agency is registered with them or not and, then what rating it has been awarded and, should they so wish, read their latest Inspection Report. The care provider’s own website should also confirm its latest CQC rating, so be suspicious if you can’t find it anywhere! Click here to download a copy of our latest CQC Inspection Report.
As you can read elsewhere on our website, Chesterford Homecare was awarded a rating of Good in its last CQC Inspection. We are a small, family-owned care provider, based in North Essex, on the borders with Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and also serving North London and Bedfordshire. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide a highly personalised care service, with great care taken to match clients and carers in terms of personality and temperament.
For this reason we have deliberately restricted our sphere of operation to an area that can be easily reached by car in no more than hour from our offices in Saffron Walden, just off the M11. This enables us to undertake regular quality assurance visits to ensure our clients are happy with all aspects of their care. Click here to download a copy of our latest Client Satisfaction Survey.
In the midst of the current coronavirus epidemic, commissioning live-in care from a reliable, locally based care provider offers many advantages. Here are just some of the reasons why you should talk to Chesterford Homecare before arranging live-in care for your elderly loved one.
- They will receive individually tailored care and support from a professionally trained and highly experienced carer for as long as the coronavirus epidemic lasts
- They will be at minimal risk of catching Covid-19, because they are able to self-isolate in the safety of their own home, supported by their dedicated and long-term live-in carer.
- The presence of a warm and reassuring carer will stop them from feeling lonely and depressed at a time when they are prevented from socialising with their children and grandchildren and can only talk to them on the phone
- Living in their own home means they remain in control of their daily routine, instead of them being expected to fit in with the more rigid timetable needed to ensure the smooth running of a care home.
- In their own home their live-in carer will provide them with freshly cooked meals at exactly the time they want them.
- Their live-in carer will also spoil them with those all-important little extras that make all the difference, including a cup of tea brought to their bedside in the morning, mid-morning coffee and tea and cake in the afternoon.
- They will be encouraged to do the things they enjoy to pass the time, whether that be doing crosswords, playing whist, completing jigsaws, watching tv together and discussing the news.
- Their live-in carer will make sure they take the right medication at the right time and that renewal prescriptions are ordered and collected in a timely fashion.
- Their carer will do all the shopping and keep the fridge and larder regularly stocked with fresh food
- They will to keep the house clean and tidy and do all the washing and ironing
- They will closely monitor any medical issues and arrange a home visit from their GP or District Nurse, should the need arise
- They will help them with their personal care without any sense of having to be rushed the need to rush
- Not least, their live-in carer will provide them with comfort and reassurance, of knowing that, when they go to bed at night and shut their eyes, they are not alone in their house and that there is someone there to watch over them and keep them safe