Care providers are calling on the Government for greater clarity on key issues in the fight against Covid-19 as deaths from the virus in care and nursing homes inch up again.
Today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of Covid-19 deaths in care and nursing homes across England and Wales at 38 for the week ending 25th September.
That is up from 31, 27, 17 and 23 for the previous weeks. It means 15,602 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes in England and Wales from 28th December to 25th September.
Mike Padgham, Chair of provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) said: “Any increase in deaths is worrying and it is alarming that the figures are creeping up again.
“At the moment we feel once again that we are in the dark over some key issues as we go into another very concerning phase of coronavirus.”
The ICG is seeking clarity over:
- What the true infection and death rate figures are across the country
- What they should do about allowing visits to care and nursing homes
- Which gloves carers should be using after receiving confusing information
The latest area of confusion has arisen in the past few days after the Department of Health and Social Care suddenly recommended that vinyl gloves should not be used, only to retract that advice later.
Mr Padgham added: “The confusion over gloves is just another example of care providers being given conflicting information at a time when we need clarity to be able to do the job of caring for those most vulnerable to Covid-19 properly.
“In recent days we have heard that test figures have been missed and so for all of us that creates mistrust over what the full extent of the infection rate is at the moment and what we are potentially up against.
“There is huge confusion and uncertainty over visiting. Some local authorities are saying it is okay for homes to allow visiting whilst others are advising against. In all cases it is only guidance, which puts the final decision on registered managers. It shouldn’t be left to managers, who are already under severe pressure, to take this decision – we have to have a clear instruction from the Government, as they have with the six people limit, for example.”
The Government has promised a visiting guide for care and nursing homes, but that has yet to appear.
“We have just written to the Government calling for a single, nominated, and tested visitor to be allowed to visit a family member in care and nursing homes,” Mr Padgham added.
“We cannot keep residents in lockdown for ever – we have to find a way to reunite them with their families and we are calling on the Government to take action.”