covid vaccination | Nursing Home Information

NCF survey reveals impact of COVID-19 testing on care homes

The National Care Forum’s second Pulse survey of the adult social care sector reveals high compliance with COVID-19 testing of staff and residents.

The survey of members operating 1,456 care and support services shows 99 per cent of respondents reporting compliance with whole home testing of staff weekly and residents monthly (98%) between 1-30 November.

The speed of test results is improving with 57 per cent of tests returned within 48 hours. In October it was 24 per cent.

Pressure

The survey was conducted by market researchers Information by Design who found that care providers were facing significant pressure on costs and employee resources surrounding testing.

The concept of visitor testing twice weekly was seen as positive for the wellbeing of residents. However, in a busy care home environment, concerns were raised about the impact on the time staff can spend with residents and the provision of care.

Previous analysis by the National Care Forum suggests the additional testing commitments introduced in the winter plan could add more than five million care hours a month.

PPE Supply

Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains an issue with 73% reporting that the allocation was not sufficient. Fewer than 1% of services are able to source PPE from the Local Resilience forum or local authority.

The survey also covered the work that care providers are doing to support staff mental health and wellbeing. This includes setting up counselling and employee assistance programmes.

Elsewhere, 90% of respondents say COVID-19 will have a negative impact on their finances at the end of the year, with 75% saying revenue is down.

Vic Rayner
Vic Rayner reports on the impact of COVID-19 on care providers

Vic Rayner, executive director at the NCF, said the survey provides vital insight.

“While we rightly celebrate the arrival of a vaccine, it is vital that the day-to-day impact of managing during this pandemic is recognised,” she said.

“Values, innovation and resilience have driven the social care response to COVID-19, but the toll on our amazing workforce, those who receive care, their families and loved ones, and the sustainability of organisations, is immense.”

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