The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has raised concerns that older people’s rights may not have been sufficiently protected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a new report, Care Home Voices: A snapshot of life in care homes in Wales during Covid-19, the Welsh Commissioner has pledged to use legal powers to scrutinise Government decisions during COVID-19 affecting older people.
Despite examples of outstanding care being provided by care staff, the report raises concerns about protecting and supporting people living and working in care homes, and shows there is limited understanding amongst public bodies about the policies and support care homes need to keep older people safe and well.
Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, says: “[There is] a significant disconnect between what was being promised at a policy level and what was being delivered on the ground, something that seems to have led to unacceptable delays in some care homes obtaining vital PPE and accessing testing / test results.”
Among the calls for action being made by the Commissioner:
- Engagement with care home residents, their families and friends and staff
- Consultation with care home staff and managers as policy and guidance for care homes is developed
- Wider research into the experiences of care home residents
- Ongoing testing of residents and care home staff
- Ongoing supply of PPE
- Access to healthcare services including GP support and hospital treatment
- Access to mental health support (including bereavement support)
- Guidance and information for care homes, older people and their families and friends to enable safe visiting
- Measures to enable safe visiting from social workers, other advocates and inspections from Care Inspectorate Wales
- Access to ongoing training and peer support for care home managers and staff
- Provision of temporary care facilities / step down facilities to support safe discharges from hospital
- Financial support for care homes to ensure sustainability during this pandemic including additional funding that will be available for care homes to offset the expenses of responding to Covid-19.