The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has called on the Welsh Government to draw up an action plan to protect and support older people living in care homes.
The call by Heléna Herklots comes as she publishes a new report, which highlights the issues and challenges that care home residents and staff in Wales have faced during the pandemic.
The report – Home Voices: A snapshot of life in care homes in Wales during Covid-19 – is based on the experiences of older people living in care homes, their families and friends, and care home managers and staff.
It highlights access to PPE as one of the key issues that many care homes faced and claims in some cases, access was dependent on whether a home had the money available to purchase it, rather than having to rely upon and wait for central government supplies.
It also found that the use of PPE – particularly paper masks – caused particular issues for people with hearing loss who rely on lipreading, and people living with dementia, who may become distressed if they are unable to ‘read’ emotional cues from the faces of their carers.
Access to testing – both for residents and care home staff – was a another key issue highlighted by many of those who responded for the report.
‘Without a published action plan, many older people and their families and friends, as well as the staff who care for and support them will not be assured that the right action will be taken at the right time to protect residents and staff,’ said Ms Herklots.
‘Publishing an action plan would also allow greater scrutiny of the decisions being made and the action being taken by the Welsh Government and other public bodies, which is crucial as we move forward.
‘Alongside this, it’s also crucial that the voices of people living and working in care homes are heard and I will continue to reach out and engage with them and use their experiences as a powerful evidence base to influence policy and drive change for older people,’ she added.
Photo Credit – Jamie Hailstone