Working in a care home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Download (PDF 473KB)

Summary of report content

Healthwatch Bucks undertook research with care home workers about the impact of changes in guidance to care homes during the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic.  They received 169 responses to a survey during the period 23rd June to 17th August.

Many staff were frustrated with the time it took to get COVID-19 tests and then to get the results. Only 14% of respondents, but 49% of colleagues and residents, said they were diagnosed or suspected they had COVID-19. Four in five  respondents said they could not get a COVID-19 test for themselves. However, they said 44% of their colleagues and 55% of their residents had obtained a test within a week.

Over 80% of staff had sufficient soap and / or hand sanitiser and PPE. Four in five staff felt they had sufficient training about COVID-19 and changes to procedures. Over three quarters said they felt able to raise any concerns they had. Four in five said they felt the care home supported them to maintain good mental health. Nearly three in five  respondents said there were sufficient staff. A further 32% said there were sufficient staff most of the time.

Nearly two thirds of respondents said residents were restricted in where they could go in the home. Just over half said residents were understanding about this. However, 58% told us that some residents' behaviour became more challenging, demonstrating their frustration. Nearly four in five respondents said the care home’s usual activities had to stop. Nearly three in five said residents were understanding about this. Over four in five of respondents kept residents informed verbally about the coronavirus outbreak and what was going on in the home as things changed.

Nearly four in five staff said residents were not allowed visitors from 16th March to 31st May. Of those who said visitors could come to the home, only 76% (16/21) said visitors, in March, could visit a relative who was at the end of their life. In May, this increased to 86%. For other residents who were not at end of life, they said no visitors were permitted in March or April. In May, this increased to 64% (9/14). Instead of visits, most people used video calls and phone to keep in contact with their loved ones. Nearly three in five staff said residents had enjoyed the experience. + However, 38% of staff told us that residents found the new ways of keeping in touch frustrating, particularly around technology. 36% found them upsetting.

The report contains a number of recommendations aimed at the local Integrated Care Partnership , Buckinghamshire Council and care home providers.

Would you like to look at:

General details

Report title 
Working in a care home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Buckinghamshire
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 6 January, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 23 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 17 August, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Building and facilities
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff levels
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
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 
Age group 
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
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 
All care professionals
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? 
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.