New report published on the response of Hertfordshire care homes to coronavirus
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The Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB) have published an independent report of care homes practice in the county during the coronavirus pandemic from February 25, until June 30.
The review was to identify learnings, improving practice and to give care home staff a voice.
The HSAB is a statutory sector partnership which has a key role in supporting and challenging all organisations who have responsibility for safeguarding adults in Hertfordshire.
The HSAB decided to undertake a review to order to understand the reasons for the severity of the outbreaks in care homes during the pandemic and the number of deaths associated with this.
This gave care homes and agencies the opportunity to share their learning from this period and to make recommendations for future plans in preparation for a possible second wave of infection.
As part of the review they collected information and feedback from care home providers focused on five key areas: lockdown and early restrictions of visits, staff availability, infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE), partnership working and leadership and organisational culture.
The report found that there were key factors that determined how well a home could respond and contain the virus, and that many of the homes reported excellent working practices.
The size of the home, the facilities that could be limited to less users, the profile of the residents, the support and training available to staff and the timely limiting of visitors and even early lockdown in some instances, all had a significant part to play in how well cases could be managed.
Elizabeth Hanlon, Independent Chair of the HSAB, said: “The human cost of the coronavirus pandemic has been huge, and we are truly saddened at the number of care home residents who lost their lives. Our thoughts continue to be with their friends and families.
“It was important for the families who lost a loved one, and for our professionals working to care for them, that we completed this review to understand what happened and what can be improved as a result.
"We were pleased to see that so many of Hertfordshire’s care homes acted swiftly to adapt and support their residents and staff to be safe in very challenging circumstances.
“The recommendations we will be making to local statutory organisations as a result of the review we trust will support them to be better prepared as we move into winter and in the likelihood of a second phase of infection.”
The HSAB will now use the findings of this report to make recommendations to local public services, including the streamlining of information sharing between organisations, access to professional health support, risk assessments for care home staff, providing ongoing support with infection control training and offering practical and emotional support for social care staff.
You can read the report in full here.