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  • COVID-19 vaccinations and care homes: programme launch

    COVID-19 vaccinations and care homes: programme launch

    08.12.20 Helen Whately, Minister for Care, has written to care homes for older people and local authorities, outlining plans for getting the first COVID-19 vaccine to care home staff, from the first day vaccinations are available. Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations confirmed that adult social care is in its top priority groups for vaccination. The letter advises that the initial focus is on vaccinating care home workers and the over 80s and that vaccines will be available from 8 December 2020, initially in up to 50 hospital hubs across England. It also sets out a number of steps care home managers should take in preparation for the vaccinations. Read the letter here

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  • Care leaders urge government to rethink rules on staff movement

    Care leaders urge government to rethink rules on staff movement

    08.12.20 Care sector leaders in the south of England have urged the government to rethink impending legislation restricting all but essential staff movement between care homes. Surrey Care Association (SCA) leaders fear that the government’s plans, outlined in the Covid-19 Winter Plan, will undermine “care providers’ flexibility in the face of ongoing, existential challenges, something that will prove hugely detrimental in both the short and longer term”. SCA director Maria Mills said that managers had been doing all they could to restrict movement. But she added: “This change to movement will have a profoundly negative impact on the ability to offer safe care. It’s an occurrence across the industry for some staff to work across settings – especially in smaller 3, 4 or 5 person homes, such as managers and clinical staff. Many care providers also rely on agency staff, who they’ll often have established working relationships with, calling them in to plug staffing gaps."

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  • New guidance on care home visits

    New guidance on care home visits

    07.12.20 After a storm of protest from carers’ groups and charities, the government issued new guidance this week allowing closer contact between care home visitors and residents. Following a successful pilot scheme in the West Country each resident has been allowed up to two visitors twice a week, but visitors have to be tested for coronoavirus on arrival using new fast-turnaround lateral flow devices. The National Care Forum (NCF), representing not-for-profit providers, welcomed the move but questioned whether care homes had the capacity to meet testing requirements. “NCF analysis suggests that addressing all the testing commitments… will require an additional 3.6 million hours of care home staff time, currently with no additional resource to deliver this,” said the forum’s executive director Vic Rayner.

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  • Care home staff will be first for vaccine, residents may have to wait

    Care home staff will be first for vaccine, residents may have to wait

    04.12.20 Reports suggest that care home staff will be first in line for the new vaccine, but that there could be significant delays in getting it to care home residents. According to a story in the Times this morning, care home staff will be able to be vaccinated in hospitals from Tuesday, but regulatory problems in dividing up vaccine batches for delivery to care homes themselves may mean that residents don’t get the jab for another fortnight or even longer. “As soon as it is legally and technically possible to get the vaccine into care homes, we will do so,” England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said yesterday. “But this is a complex product with a very fragile culture. This is not a yoghurt that can be taken out of the fridge and put back in multiple times.” The Times report suggests that distribution problems are likely to delay the vaccine reaching care homes by at least two weeks, while others say the delay could stretch into January.

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  • E-Newsletter 27 Nov

    E-Newsletter 27 Nov

    Here is this week’s round-up of dementia care news, stories and comment. This week's topics include the latest on rapid Covid-19 for care homes and home care, and how social care fared in the spending review. It is an editor's selection which we hope you will enjoy.

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  • Survey on speech and language therapy

    Survey on speech and language therapy

    04.12.20 The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists wants to find out how the pandemic is affecting the provision of speech and language therapy services and asks those who care for relatives or friends who use these services to complete the survey. The college will use the results to campaign for more services. Link to survey here

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  • Emergency bracelets to identify a missing person with dementia

    Emergency bracelets to identify a missing person with dementia

    03.12.20 Bracelets developed by emergency services in Avon and Somerset will provide essential information on people with dementia who go missing. Worn by the person with dementia the bracelets encode details such as name and next of kin which can be picked up by a special app on a phone held nearby. The wristband was developed by Avon and Somerset Police, the charity Senior Citizen Laison Team and Avon Fire and Rescue Service as part of their Dementia Safeguarding Scheme.

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  • Families to visit care homes for Christmas

    Families to visit care homes for Christmas

    02.12.20 People living in care homes in England will be able to have visits from family and friends by Christmas if the visitors test negative for Covid-19, the government has announced. More than a million coronavirus tests will be sent to care homes over the next month to allow safe indoor visits, two visitors per resident twice a week. Visits will be allowed across all tiers of coronavirus restrictions, except where there is an outbreak in the home. Guidance available here

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  • Home care workers offered weekly tests

    Home care workers offered weekly tests

    01.12.20 Home care workers are now being offered weekly coronavirus tests as the government seeks to expand mass testing. The Department for Health and Social Care said home care providers would be able to start booking tests for their staff online from last Monday. Workers will receive PCR swab tests to do at home every week, helping to identify more asymptomatic cases and protect people with dementia living in their own homes. The government said all registered home care agencies would be contacted with details of how to apply for the tests, but that agencies would then be responsible for ordering and distributing the tests for workers to carry out on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

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  • Testing could increase fourfold

    Testing could increase fourfold

    30.11.20 The National Care Forum (NCF), representing not-for-profit providers, said it was “hugely positive” to see a more supportive approach to care home visiting in the government’s new Covid-19 Winter Plan, but questioned whether the sector had the resources to undertake all the necessary testing. NCF said that the average 50-bed care home would have to quadruple the monthly number of tests it had to carry out, from 450 tests in November to 1,800 tests in December. This would include 800 lateral flow tests for visitors as well as additional tests for residents, it added. NCF commented: “It is not just insulting but dangerous for government to suggest this can be delivered without extra resources and staff. We are already seeing members raising huge concerns and anxieties about how they are expected to deliver this.”

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