Care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Liverpool
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 14 May, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 14 May, 2021
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Health and safety
Health protection
Information providing
Quality of care
Staff levels
Staff training

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Liverpool City Council
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Social care services 
Residential care home

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Care / support workers
Service manager
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.