More than half of care homes are unable to isolate residents who have coronavirus, according to a leading charity.
The Alzheimer’s Society has published details of a new survey, which reveals 58% of care homes questioned said they are unable to isolate residents with COVID-19.
According to the survey responses, the main problems were a lack of staffing and particular challenges with people with dementia who cannot retain information about social distancing.
The survey also found 43% of care homes are still not confident of their personal protective equipment (PPE) supply, with one home resorting to taping bags around carers’ arms, feet and hair in a bid to protect them and their residents.
And despite the lack of support in place to isolate the virus, a third of care homes surveyed said they had taken in Covid-19 positive patients discharged from hospital.
‘It’s tragically clear care homes were left to fend for themselves against coronavirus, and unfortunately still are,’ said Alzheimer’s Society chief executive, Kate Lee.
‘Despite the heroic efforts of care workers, the precious lives of people with dementia and all those in homes are still being put in danger. 70% of people in care homes have dementia, and right now it feels like they are being written off,’ she added.
‘It was a relief for people with dementia when the government agreed to Alzheimer’s Society’s demand for testing, equipment and daily death records for all care homes in need, but this research adds to the evidence showing they are not yet delivering enough on that promise.’
But the organisation NHS Providers has hit back at claims that hospitals have knowingly discharged patients with coronavirus to care homes.
‘It is categorically not true to say that NHS trusts systematically discharged patients they knew or suspected had COVID-19 into care homes,’ said NHS Providers chief executive, Chris Hopson.
‘The NHS did discharge significant numbers of medically fit patients to create capacity to treat expected COVID-19 patients but this was before the virus had spread and only 1 in 20 patients discharged from hospital went to a care home for the first time.’
The survey follows the publication of a report by academics from the University of Exeter and the University of Connecticut, which claimed older people with dementia are three times more likely to have severe COVID-19 than those who do not suffer the disease.
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