Covid-19 and care homes

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Havering undertook a survey of friends and relatives of care home residents to find out what they felt about their experience since lockdown began so that lessons can be learned for the future. The survey was launched online in July and closed at the end of September. It was supplemented by three online videoconferences, one in July and two in September.

Most participants found communication with care home staff easy to maintain but many felt more could have been done. Most homes tried to ensure contact was maintained, including visits outdoors, but not always successfully. Homes were not always open to offers of help from relatives and friends of their residents.

Although generally relatives and friends felt that homes achieved a safe environment and made good use of personal protective equipment (PPE), there was concern that staff were not always using PPE and that some residents were being cared for by different members of staff, some of whom were attending more than one home and generally moving about in the community. Most participants were confident that homes were keeping them up to date regarding Covid-19 infection among staff and residents.

There was, however, concern that relatives and friends were not informed about changes in their loved ones’ care plans although there were few general reservations about medical care. Residents were generally able to access health care such as dentistry, chiropody and hospital care when needed.

Generally, homes were able to continue to offer activities to keep residents engaged – although there was criticism of an overreliance on bingo!  Most residents appeared to have coped well with the restrictions imposed by lockdown. But there was concern about the mental health consequences of prolonged inability to see visitors. Feelings of being imprisoned and losing liberty were reported, leading to diminished mobility and an inability to recognise visitors. The ability of residents to support one another was welcomed.

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General details

Report title 
Covid-19 and care homes
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Havering
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 11 November, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 30 September, 2020
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Health protection
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Other information of note about this report 
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
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 
Nursing care home
Residential care home

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not known
Age group 
All people 18 and over
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? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
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? 
Not applicable
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.