Coronavirus to push UK social care crisis to breaking point – as carehomes start to BAN visitors


CORONAVIRUS will push Britain’s social care sector to breaking point as staff struggle to care for the vulnerable, elderly residents, industry experts have warned.

Crisis-stricken care services are scrambling to ensure the most frail residents are cared for – but others are facing long wait times and isolation from friends and family.

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Residents will face longer wait times for care

As fears over the deadly virus hit fever-pitch, executive chairman of the National Care Association, Nadra Ahmed OBE, has warned social care staff will struggle to meet the needs of elderly residents.

Ms Ahmed said the huge staffing shortages which already exist would be made even worse by workers having to self-isolate if they fear they are sick.

Elderly and vulnerable people with pre-existing conditions have a much higher risk of dying if they catch the deadly virus known as COVID-19.

Ms Ahmed told HOAR Online: “We have this really challenging scenario where we have 120,000 vacancies in the sector… and the potential of self-isolation and the impact of that is fundamentally going to render services unable to continue.”

She said elderly and sick residents could face longer wait times for care, too.

“If we don’t have the workforce to deliver the services then we are going to be substantially challenged,” she added.

“People with the highest need will receive the care but people with medium needs who need the support may be waiting.”

Already visitors are being banned from going into care homes to see their sick older relatives – and others are being told not to leave their accommodation.

The news comes as:

  • A top surgeon tested positive  for coronavirus and may have infected hundreds of patients
  • The bug killed its sixth Brit this afternoon, as the number of cases of the deadly disease jumped to 373
  • Experts said yesterday even people with just a mild cold would be asked to stay at home within the next fortnight
  • Dr Jenny Harris, deputy chief medical officer, fears thousands of Brits will be infected over the next week

Elderly people living in remote parts of the country will be even more at risk and will have to rely on kind friends and family, she warned.

She said: “We are urging people… to ensure elderly love ones have sufficient stock within their homes to ride out any isolation period that may occur.”

“It may be that the individual who is supporting them can’t get to them, that will be a concern – especially for people in rural settings.”

Robert Evans, owner of Sunningdale care home in Tamworth, Staffordshire, has closed its doors to anyone external.

And care home staff are under strict instructions to changing their clothes as soon as they arrive on the facility.

Mr Evans told HOAR Online: “It’s just been confirmed a teacher nearby has got the virus.

“It’s only a precautionary measure but we are the first home to do it in Tamworth.”

He said he was aware of five or six other homes had also stopped visitors.

“It made common sense. Every family [is] happy and agreed it was the right thing to do.”

Shoppers are already stockpiling in case they need to self-isolate
A man is seen reading a newspaper while travelling on the Tube in London

He said it was impossible to get hold of any coherent advice on what to do, so took matters into his own hands.

At his other care homes, staff must watch visitors coming in sanitise their hands before they can sign in, too.