Bath & North East Somerset Council has written to the government outlining the support it has been offering to care homes and providers during the COVID-19 crisis, together with the challenges it’s faced.
From providing support and advice from the council’s additional temporary infection control officers to ensuring care homes’ never have less than 48 hours supply of PPE and providing financial assistance, the council has worked to support those caring for some of the most vulnerable in society.
The information provided to the government, alongside that submitted by other local authorities across the country, will be used to identify good practice and ensure every care home is given the right support to implement appropriate measures to stop outbreaks.
Working with Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG), the council has taken a proactive approach to supporting the care sector during the pandemic, quickly identifying and responding to areas of concern and sharing good practice.
This has included:
- Regular calls to all care homes – sharing concerns, discussing new issues and guidance, assessing risks and coordinating and consolidating learning
- A daily situation report – gathering information from across acute, community and care home providers to enable a review of the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19
- Bi-weekly webinars led by a third sector provider – enabling care home providers to raise issues and share areas of concern to enable a coordinated response
- Establishing a central PPE team – enabling care homes to draw on mutual aid and central PPE via a virtual procurement hub
- Establishing an Infection Prevention & Control framework – offering different levels of support to care homes based on an assessment of the homes ability to prevent and manage cases of COVID-19. This includes planning, coaching, mentoring and training.
- Recruiting temporary Infection Prevention and Control officers – to provide support training and advice to care homes on an ad-hoc basis
- Supporting whole home testing – sharing information on the roll out of whole home testing and the process for local prioritisation of homes to be tested. Supporting the safe undertaking of tests and helping to manage the implications of positive tests
- Providing financial support – through the provider relief programme
- Publication of a weekly newsletter – sent to all care homes, home care, day service providers and the third sector. This includes links to national guidance and further explanation with local interpretation and support
The majority of care home providers across Bath and North East Somerset have undertaken Infection, Prevention and Control training led by B&NES Council and BSW CCG or completed their own in-house training.
Most are now also taking up the offer of the nationally-recognised training provided by PHE.
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, said: “Sadly people have lost their lives and our sincere condolences go to their families and those key workers who have and are still caring for vulnerable people in very challenging circumstances.
“Our care homes have responded in a professional, comprehensive and caring way to the pandemic. Often working with reduced teams through traumatic and challenging experiences, they’ve quickly and efficiently responded to the developing guidance.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank care home staff for all they are doing to protect their residents during these difficult times.”
Corinne Edwards, B&NES Chief Operating Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG ,said: “Care home staff have shown remarkable dedication, compassion and resilience in dealing with the impact of coronavirus over the past few months to care for their residents, and Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG have been working closely with them to provide the help and support they need during this challenging time.”