Summary of report content
Healthwatch Barnet wanted to understand the experiences of care home residents during the pandemic and the effects on their physical and mental wellbeing. They emailed a survey to the 83 CQC-registered care homes in the London Borough of Barnet from December 2020 to February 2021, followed by directly calling care homes to speak with residents, to gain insight into residents’ experiences and received 129 responses. The surveys were completed by residents or on behalf of residents by their family.
More than four in five respondents had been provided information on how to stay safe during the pandemic, such as handwashing and social distancing, for themselves and their relatives by the care home.
Over seven in ten respondents had been offered COVID-19 testing mostly on a monthly and weekly basis.
Over three quarters of respondents indicated care home staff always used appropriate PPE when providing care, although 62% of respondents stated they were provided PPE for personal use in shared spaces.
Respondents have had issues in accessing healthcare services with 23% of respondents stating an impact in accessing their GP and 29% respondents stating that the pandemic affected their access to a dentist.
Almost 50% of respondents stated that their mental health and wellbeing had deteriorated, primarily due to a lack of social interaction causing isolation and depression
Over a third of respondents stated that their physical health had deteriorated due to factors such as reduced access to healthcare services and physical wellbeing activities, including maintaining relationships with family and friends.
The restriction on visits from loved ones has been distressing for respondents. Care homes created alternative methods such as video calls, telephones and emails as substitutes for in-person visits however many respondents stated that these were not an adequate substitute to in-person visits.
Respondents overwhelmingly praised their care home staff and stated that the staff had been excellent in providing care during the pandemic.
The report contains four recommendations about allowing visiting, improving activities, and communication with friends and family.