Listening to care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic - a follow up report

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Summary of report content

This report from Healthwatch Oxfordshire is based on the findings of a follow up survey they carried out in care homes in October 2020. Their aim was to find out how things were, what had improved, and what the evolving challenges and pressures were ahead of the winter months. They had previously done similar research in March 2020, during the first few weeks of lockdown, and the report contains Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s response to their earlier recommendations.

The key findings are:

  • Care home management and staff were working as hard as they could, in many new and creative ways, to keep residents safe, while enabling them to exercise, socialise and keep in touch with their families and the outside world. The most common approaches were the use of telephone and video calls, which, of 33 homes, were offered by 31 and 32 of them respectively.
  • While the majority care homes said that the current arrangements are sustainable, some felt that they had no choice as they needed to be sustainable.
  • The morale of residents and staff in care homes had largely stayed the same or improved. Comments reflected that better access to adequate PPE and testing, and the flow of information and guidance had helped.
  • The vast majority of homes indicated they felt both prepared and supported heading into the winter months – the support was largely felt from within the care home itself. However, three felt they were not at all supported – reasons included lack of access to adequate and affordable PPE, surprise visits from the government to check their preparedness and feeling they’ll be blamed if anything goes wrong.
  • Most care homes felt that access to services had stayed the same. Dentistry, spiritual/ pastoral care, and hospital appointments were rated much worse.
  • Some care homes raised concerns about visits from health professionals, who were not being tested for COVID-19 despite some of them being in close contact and treating people who had been infected with COVID-19.

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General details

Report title 
Listening to care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic - a follow up report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Oxfordshire
Date of publication 
Thursday, 25 March, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 October, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 31 October, 2020
Key themes 
Health and safety
Health promotion
Health protection
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care

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? 
Primary research method used 
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 
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? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

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.