Summary of report content
Healthwatch Liverpool along with staff from Liverpool City Council (LCC) conducted a series of interviews and focus groups with staff members and relatives of residents from different care homes across Liverpool. They wanted to find out how care homes were operating during the pandemic, and how they were looking after residents’ physical and mental health as well as their general wellbeing.
Their key findings are:
- Good communication between care home staff members and close co-operation and communication with external agencies and professionals (such as Liverpool City Council, or healthcare professionals) had worked well during the pandemic.
- For homes which had experienced COVID-19 outbreaks, this was an obvious difficulty. They felt the pressure of caring for a number of residents who were very unwell with COVID-19. Added to that was pressure from staff sickness and absence.
- Some care homes had lost multiple residents in quick succession due to COVID-19 related deaths. Staff members were required to verify the deaths, even when they had not been previously trained or expected to verify deaths and were not comfortable performing this task.
- Some managers felt pressure to complete bureaucratic tasks, such as routine paperwork or assisting social workers with care plan assessments, at a time that they felt was inappropriate.
- Perceptions of guidance in the early weeks and months of the pandemic was mostly negative. Frequent changes in guidance were described as overwhelming and confusing, and guidance was often seen as being contradictory.
- The report also contains issues that Healthwatch came across in relation to staff’s access to PPE and tests, communication with residents and their families about visiting restrictions, staff morale and additional support and moving forward.
- It also contains findings from focus groups with members of the public with a relative or other loved one who had been living in a care home during the pandemic.