Coronavirus: our key messages
9 April 2020
The Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) is providing support to people on the front-line of the Coronavirus pandemic. The R&RA Helpline supports older people receiving care, and their relatives, with advice and information about care.
R&RA Helpline workers are hearing from people:
- worried about how their older relative receiving care will cope without the regular support of friends/family, and that their physical and mental health may deteriorate
- concerned about the impact of falling staff levels on care standards and how care homes will cope (due to staff being off sick or self-isolating)
- distressed that they may not have chance to see their relative at the end of their life
“We lost mum today. It was a shock as so sudden and hard as we were unable to see her.” Anonymous relative
R&RA want to ensure the voices of older people receiving care, and their relatives, are heard during this crisis. Below are R&RA’s key messages:
- Older people’s rights should not be side-lined during this crisis. The response to this emergency should not be discriminatory or devalue lives. The process of prioritising health services should always be based on clinical factors. The Government should avoid making sweeping assumptions about older people.
- Older people should be supported to keep in touch with their families during Covid-19 emergency measures. Where people are at the end of life or in distress due to dementia, steps should be taken to facilitate personal contact where possible.
- Care services need to be supported to ensure care standards do not fall to unsafe or undignified levels during this crisis. With falling staff levels and without the normal checks and processes in place (CQC inspections, LGO oversight, easement of Care Act duties, and relatives visiting) care services will need support, guidance and leadership from the Government on how to maintain standards of care.
- Adult social care departments and care services need adequate resources and staff levels to meet the needs of older people during this crisis. Care workers will not be able to meet the needs of older people without adequate training, equipment, testing and wage security for this already fragile workforce.
- Care services should be recognised as equal partners with the NHS, on the frontline of managing and reducing the impact of this pandemic. The Government should show leadership to ensure care services are valued as highly as NHS services.
To discuss any of these issues, please contact R&RA’s director, Helen Wildbore, on 07385 290 059 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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