Shot of a nurse offering her elderly male patient support.

Q&A regarding Coronavirus and care

How is the current pandemic affecting CHC assessments?

The fact is that it is having a significant impact as CHC teams are being redeployed within the NHS and this means that assessments are either further delayed or are not taking place at all and this will have an impact for eligibility going forward until the pandemic is over. This does not mean however, that you still should not make an application for an assessment, as you will then be on the waiting list.

How is the current pandemic affecting social care assessments?

Social workers are still supposed to be carrying out assessments, although they are trying to do this digitally by holding meetings via MS Teams. Some social workers are trying to do in person assessments; however, they have to be extremely careful due to the pandemic because of the risk to themselves, and of course to the person they are assessing, and any family members present. Again, this should not stop people requesting assessments and it is then for the social worker to make arrangements for the safest way possible to carry out that assessment.

Can a loved one still move to a different care home during the current pandemic?

Yes, a loved one can still move to a different care home during the current pandemic, but obviously precautions will need to be taken and it will depend on why the loved one should be moved. If it is perhaps a move from hospital to a care home then this is definitely going ahead, but again, people will have to be careful and make sure that suitable precautions are in place, along with the appropriate assessments, risk assessments and PPE. If it is to a different care home, it will again depend on the purpose of the move, is it because the current home is not meeting the loved one’s care needs or is it because they are deteriorating and need nursing care, and again, moves can take place for all these reasons with the appropriate assessments and risk assessments in place.

How are we supposed to find a suitable home for our loved one during the current pandemic?

A lot of this is groundwork, you can do a search of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and look at reports for various homes in the area checking out their registrations, whether they are registered for mental health care, dementia care, nursing care or residential care, as each will have a different registration. It may also be possible to check social media for anybody making comments about various care homes, although one does have to be careful with this as it is not always an honest and true reflection. You can always speak to staff or ask to speak to staff at the care home and could also ask for a virtual visit. Some homes may allow visits from one member of the family, however, of course, this has to be subject to any assessment or risk assessments that needs to be undertaken. Groundwork can be done, but it may be difficult to actually confirm that this is the most suitable permanent place during this current time.

What can I do if visits are not allowed to a loved one, including when they are receiving end of life care?

The government guidance issued in January makes it quite clear that care homes should still be permitting visitors to residents and that risk assessments have to be undertaken to confirm how the visits can be carried out most safely. Without a shadow of a doubt, when somebody is at end of life or within an end-of-life cycle, visits can of course take place and it is up to liaising with care home and perhaps social care to make sure these visits do take place. If there are any issues that people have regarding this, always seek advice. The visits are for the benefit of the resident and individual assessments should be undertaken including Best Interest assessments where the resident has lost capacity.

If you have any further questions which we have not addressed, please comment below.

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