Care and nursing homes are facing one of their toughest dilemmas since the onset of coronavirus as pressure mounts for them to open their doors.
Provider organisation the Independent Care Group (ICG) says falling death and infection rates and the easing of lockdown means relatives are wanting to visit their loved ones.
But, in the light of cases like Leicester, care home owners are still living in fear of a second spike impacting on the older and vulnerable people they care for.
They are calling for guidance from the Government over what to do next.
Speaking as the number of deaths in care and nursing homes fell again, ICG Chair Mike Padgham said care home owners were facing a dreadful dilemma.
“We are delighted to see the death and infection rates in care and nursing homes continue to fall and of course would love to gradually open our doors and let our residents and their loved ones be back together. Many relatives are understandably asking ‘if we can go to the pub, why can’t we go and see our relatives?’
“We are also seeing care and nursing homes close and others enduring real financial hardship because of coronavirus costs and reduced admissions. This also increases the pressure to open up.
“But at the same time care providers are very nervous that this relaxation of lockdown restrictions will itself spark a second spike in coronavirus, which has already had a devastating impact upon care and nursing homes. We have seen what is happening in Leicester and the more restrictions are lifted and people, including care staff, return to more normal contact, the greater the risk of the virus being brought into a home again.
“It is a dreadful dilemma and we could really do with better guidance over what we do next.”
Today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 249 people in England and Wales died in care and nursing homes from Covid-19 in the week up to 19th June, down from 369 the week before. Previous weeks saw 564, 705, 1,090, 1,660, 1,666, 2,423 and 2,800 deaths respectively.
The ONS says a total of 14,658 people died in care and nursing homes from Covid-19 between 28 December last year and 19th June.