Coronavirus: vulnerable people can die alone due to the impact on home care in the UK World News| Instant News

Thousands of isolated and vulnerable people living at home face “falling through gaps” in the next two months unless the government takes steps to protect them, the body representing their guardians has warned.

The Homecare Association of Great Britain said the financial pressure caused by the coronavirus crisis, including rising prices for personal protective equipment, could force a large number of 8,000 home care providers in the UK to close within weeks.

Some home care providers – widely recognized as the most fragile part of the social care system – have warned that vulnerable adults can face being left to die alone at home.

“Lessons learned late in the home care system have not been implemented in home care systems, which experience many similar problems and care for more people,” said Colin Angel, policy director for the professional association of home care providers. from the legal, independent, voluntary, non-profit and.

World Health Organization (WHO) guide on face masks remained consistent during the coronavirus pandemic. It has stuck to the line that the mask is for health workers – not the public.

“Wearing a medical mask is one of the preventive measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including Covid-19. However, the use of masks alone is not enough to provide an adequate level of protection, and other measures must also be adopted, “WHO stated.

There is no strong scientific evidence – in the form of experiments – that ordinary masks prevent viruses from infecting people who use them. There is also concern that people will not understand how to use masks properly, and may become infected if they catch a virus when they take it off and then touch their faces.

What also underlies WHO’s concern is the lack of high-quality protective masks for frontline health workers.

Even so, masks do have a role when used by people who are already infected. It was accepted that they could block transmission to other people. Given that many people with Covid-19 do not show any symptoms for the first days after they are infected, masks clearly have a potential role to play if everyone wears them.

Sarah Boseley Health editor

“Home care is a forgotten cousin of the second-class social care sector, both in terms of a lack of attention and understanding from the government,” he said.

About 97% of home care in the UK is provided by independent providers. This provider makes more than 1 million visits a day to vulnerable people in their homes. But there is no centralized record of numbers that rely on their support and very limited supervision of their financial stability.

Raina Summerson, chief executive of Agincare, one of the largest care groups in the UK, said: “All care providers at home will do anything to maintain care. But we are already working on very tight margins and, with a lack of funds and very high PPE fees, there will be bankrupt providers.

“Overnight, local authorities would have the responsibility to take care of providers that went bankrupt but would not have the resources to do so. That can mean people leave unattended and in the worst case scenario, fall through a gap and die alone at home. “

Self-isolation and staff sickness means that home care providers must also depend on expensive agency staff during a crisis. At the same time, many clients cancel their contracts for fear of being infected.

Gill Heppell, founder of Nottingham-based home care provider, PerCurra, said PPE costs were too high while supplies were short.

“The mask now costs £ 11.95 – and you have to buy 1,000. I will not need 1,000, and I hope I will not need it at all, “he said. “We usually buy two five-liter hand sanitizer tanks for £ 30. One bathtub now costs £ 100. Gloves usually cost £ 1.90 for 100. Now it costs £ 20.

“Most of these are disposable items. One care worker can get through dozens of pairs of gloves a day. Home care providers will not survive in this environment. I am really concerned about what will happen if the government does not get this right. “

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Angel said the lack of supervision increases the risk that if small or medium home care providers are forced to close, the people they manage will not be picked up by local authorities in due course.

“Home care providers suffer from a number of problems, the most important being financial problems,” he said. “Most of the councils in the UK have not paid £ 1.6 billion provided by the government for them. At the same time, we have reports from several providers that they will not be able to pay their staff on the next payroll.

“There will be a number of home care providers who will go to the wall within the next month or two because of an exponential increase in costs and an increase in the number of visits canceled by the council and by people who fund their own care. That’s the fear we hear now in this sector. “

He added: “If there are a number of provider closures in the same area, local authorities may fail to identify everyone who needs it quickly enough to get in on time. Vulnerable people will fall through the gaps and not get the care they need. “

Ian Hudspeth, chair of the community welfare council of the Regional Government Association, said: “There are many and more calls on £ 1.6bn in funds and additional resources will be needed to enable the council to continue to support social care and other services.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Our adult social care action plan sets out how we protect workers by increasing testing throughout the system for care workers and their families and we ensure millions of additional PPE items reach them at the forefront with local security forums which identifies those who need it most.

“The secretary of state has written a letter to local authorities, outlining how £ 1.6 billion for local authorities should support social care providers and adult workers. To ensure this additional funding makes a difference, we ask local authorities to provide information about the distribution of these funds to providers. “

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