Summary of report content
Healthwatch Swindon undertook a survey of care homes to understand how they had adapted to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. They spoke to 7 care home managers and three residents.
Most of the homes that were contacted successfully maintained contact between residents and loved ones in a number of ways, including allowing visits from families in line with social distancing. Examples of good practice included a marquee in the grounds to allow a Covid-secure but private meeting space and access to tablets to have video calls.
Although residents were missing close contacts with their families, care homes lessened the impact by providing more activities, spending more time with residents; maintaining as much contact as possible with families and adapting communication methods for residents with dementia.
Care homes were creative about how they maintained contact with the wider community, including virtual GP calls.
The report sets out the barriers homes and residents experienced and how they got over them.
All care homes involved in the survey that the most important way to offer support was spending time with residents; this was especially vital for residents who might not spend a lot of time out of their room.
Challenges included end of life care, limited family visits, doing everything to protect the residents, support and protection for staff, getting groceries online; closing down day centres and lack of PPE at the start of lockdown.
Learning points from the experience included access to training, more staff, infection control, effectiveness of polices and keeping people informed.