Preparing for the Next Phase
As Covid continues its untimely resurgence in the UK and across Europe, attention must turn to how we protect the most vulnerable in our population. The tragic situation that engulfed care homes during the first peak needs to be avoided – but that might be easier said than done.
The novel coronavirus is a stealthy virus, with people being infectious before they develop symptoms – if indeed they do experience symptoms. This allows the virus to rip through the population unseen. It’s not possible to be 100% Covid secure in how we go about our daily lives as we all need to eat and drink. That said, there are significant steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones which we will look at in this piece.
A perfect storm
It’s been a struggle across the entire care sector this year. A rising demand for care, staff shortages, and financial trouble for some families have led to mental health problems, isolation, and loneliness in the elderly, in addition to the dangers posed by Covid-19.
A stretched social care system also presents a real concern with a second peak now seemingly imminent.
The issues are such that Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, even went as far as saying that immigration systems need to be considerate of the situation. He said:
“Recruitment and retention of staff are of paramount importance to providers of adult social care. Any future immigration system must take into account the realities of the adult social care sector including the valuable contribution of overseas nationals in providing care to some of society’s most vulnerable.”
Whilst Skills for Care’s 2019 workforce data stated that 17% of the adult social care sector’s employees were non-British nationals to reinforce the point made by the professor.
The impact on families
From virus fears and a struggling care sector, to financial and practical problems in caring for loved ones, the impact of this perfect storm is already severe. But there are some positives to look at as we move towards the next phase of dealing with this virus as a nation.
- We now know more about the virus and have a better idea of how to treat it
- The government will no doubt do more to protect care homes and the vulnerable this time around
- As a society we are more used to the new reality of social distancing and wearing face coverings
- The ‘R’ number is nowhere near what it was in March, so the virus is spreading more slowly than it did during the first spike
Protecting our most vulnerable
Until we are out of the woods via a successful vaccination programme or the development of an effective treatment, there are clearly trade-offs that we all need to make.
Our lives are different, the social landscape is different, and both are ever-changing. The government also has to weigh up saving lives versus the economic impact and the negatives that come with placing restrictions on how people can live their lives. Financial ruin, loneliness, depression, and other mental health problems are knock on effects of the pandemic that can harm us and future generations. The government can’t overlook these indirect problems caused by Covid either.
So, it’s a challenge, but for most, as it usually is, it will be looking after family as the first priority. If you have an elderly or vulnerable relative, now is the time to consider how you can best protect them should cases continue to surge.
Clearly the safest thing for a vulnerable person to do is stay at home whilst the virus is most prevalent. We’ve seen what happened in care homes and in other settings, so home is the safest bet.
Of course, if your loved one requires care you need to factor that in and there are multiple options to consider…
Domiciliary care allows your loved one to remain in their own home but with the additional support that they need. It’s paid for hourly depending on the amount of care that your loved one needs.
This option is great if your relative doesn’t need round the clock care and just needs support going about their lives.
Live-in care is the optimum choice if your loved one needs a full care service but wants to remain in their own home. By nature then this service is perfect for a pandemic as they will effectively shield with their carer at home and still get the care, companionship, and day-to-day support that they need.
Live-in care is also a perfect solution should you need to arrange care quickly: should you want to move your loved one from another setting, such as a care home, to a private residence in light of the impending second wave.
The main benefits of live-in care are:
- It’s personal, one-to-one care
- It’s the safest form of care for the current situation
- Retained independence
- A 6-8-week duration until carer changeover, ensuring familiarity and contentment
- Provides companionship and security, vital for mental health and wellbeing
A new normal
With no let up on the horizon, it’s time to evaluate the best care options for your family before things worsen again.
A new care framework and support system in the comfort of your loved ones home could well be the answer to protect your most vulnerable and to give you as a family peace of mind that they’re in the best place with the best of care.
To find out more about our live-in care services here at Promedica24, just click here. You can also contact me directly to enquire on 01254 375023 or email me anytime at email@example.com.
-Gary Derbyshire, regional partner (North Yorkshire & Lancashire), Promedica24