Summary of report content
Healthwatch Kent undertook 204 phone interviews with care homes across all client groups (older persons, people with a learning disability, people with a physical disability and people with mental health issues) during June 2020. The aim of this was to collect information about the impact of COVID-19 on these groups.
The report found that the main concerns for care homes were around infections alongside testing and PPE provision. For those who reported no concerns, this was linked to not having any positive cases of COVID within the home. It was found that 80% of care homes reported that they felt they did get the help, support and information they needed to respond to the pandemic. There was reference to good methods of communication such as forums, workplace huddles and group phone calls which helped staff and Kent County Council to navigate the information. However, there was clear sense that in the first 2 or 3 weeks, supply chains and dissemination of information had not worked smoothly but that this improved vastly in later weeks. The majority of care homes reported that they would not have liked the response to the pandemic to have been different, although some commented that they needed clear guidance, coordination and available tests. Many care homes had experienced
staff unable to work either because of self isolation or shielding, but that many care homes found they had been able to accommodate this often with people cancelling leave and working extra shifts. A significant cluster of responses identified that what staff needed at the moment was emotional support. The overriding issue raised was about change and innovation around maintaining contact with resident’s family and friends. There were positive experiences of using video calls between health professionals. Although, care homes raised concerns about GPs not doing visits and
the difficulties this presented in undertaking blood tests / urine tests. We also heard that care home staff had been asked to complete death certificates.
No recommendations were made in this report.