Human rights organisation Amnesty is calling for a full independent public Inquiry into the pandemic starting with the treatment of older people in care homes amid claims that Government failures saw “older people in care homes abandoned to die”.
The organisation is calling for a thorough review of Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) forms to ensure they were not imposed without due process
Other measures include new guidelines for care home visits that are based on individual risk assessments, and which take into account COVID testing.
In a 50-page report, As If Expendable: The UK Government’s Failure to Protect Older People in Care Homes during the COVID-19 Pandemic Amnesty says that care home residents in England were effectively abandoned in the early stages of the pandemic. As a result, between 2 March and 12 June this year 28,186 “excess deaths” were recorded in care homes, with 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with COVID-19.
Among the criticisms levelled at the Government are delays in guidance, access to adequate PPE, testing, and hospital admission and discharge policy.
Official figures show admissions to hospital for care home residents decreased substantially during the pandemic, with 11,800 fewer admissions during March and April compared to previous years. Amnesty says it has received multiple reports of doctors refusing to enter care homes, regardless of symptoms.