As the number people requiring hospital treatment for COVID-19 is expected to surge over the coming days and weeks, hospitals are trying to discharge older people back into care or nursing homes. Whilst the government has provided funding to move people from hospital to their own home or to care homes, there is no dedicated funding or guidance for testing patients for COVID-19 before they are being discharged. Residential care homes fear that without changes to this, they will face a substantial rise in the number of infected staff and residents.
- Care and nursing homes are highly concerned about accepting people who have been discharged from hospital back into their residential home unless they have been tested for the virus.
- However, under current guidance, hospitals are not required to do testing, and an insufficient amount of testing kits makes it difficult for them to do so.
- Although government has provided funding to allow for people who do not need urgent hospital care to be discharged, there is no dedicated funding for testing kits or for personal protective equipment to ensure the health and safety of staff and residents.
- In response to the situation, the government has promised residential care home some personal protective equipment such as facemasks.
- Provisions do not currently include home care workers. There are major concerns how to make sure that personal assistants get the personal safety equipment they need to not become infected.
With thanks to Annette Bauer (CPEC)