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Fresh reports of care home closures across the UK due to COVID-19 continue to come to light, including at Friary Lodge in Whetstone, North London and Temple Court in Kettering. Staffing issues and operational difficulties due to the pandemic were cited as reasons for the temporary closure. It ought not to be forgotten, however, that among other factors, both staffing issues and operational difficulties were issues faced by care homes nationwide prior to the pandemic, which have left residents and patients with insufficient care leading to, for example, falls, incorrect medication, dehydration or failure to refer for medical attention.
Infections continue to rise within care homes and similar settings, and despite reports of a falling transmission rate across the UK, the transmission rate is higher within such settings. A contributing factor for this may be down to care homes accepting patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 from hospitals and not having sufficient processes and equipment to prevent the spread of the infection across their residents. It is especially difficult to prevent the spread of the infection for those with Dementia who may find it more difficult to understand social distancing requirements.
The residents within a care home or similar setting are often the most vulnerable in society, historically there have not been enough measures put in place to protect them and tragically, the treatment afforded to them during the COVID-19 pandemic is no different, with the BBC reporting approximately 18,000 excess deaths in April 2020 in care homes across England and Wales. While only 8,000 of these deaths are attributed to COVID-19 there remains, alarmingly,10,000 excess deaths in April alone which are not attributable to COVID-19.
This begs the question- why are there so many excess deaths and are residents receiving a sufficient standard of care to ensure their health and safety? Care requirements must continue to be met despite the pandemic to avoid further loss of life.
Unfortunately, care providers are faced with PPE shortages, lack of funding for equipment and staffing shortages, with many calling for more assistance from the Government, some even stating that they feel abandoned. Everyone deserves to be cared for in a safe way and live comfortably, and more awareness of the issues faced by our vulnerable members of society must continue.
If you are concerned about the care received by you or a loved one please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Injury team on 01484 821 500, fill out our online enquiry form or email us to to discuss confidentially.