Care home report for Cambridgeshire makes recommendations for improvements

The Healthwatch care home report makes several recommendations.

The Healthwatch care home report makes several recommendations. - Credit: HUNTS POST

A new report highlights the experiences of care home residents, staff and visitors across Cambridgeshire during the Covid 19 pandemic and makes recommendations for improvements.  

The Life in a Care Home report, put together by Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, looked at the impact of the strict Covid visiting rules that meant "separation and Isolation" for residents and their families and friends.

It also makes recommendations after relatives raised concerns about some aspects of end-of-life care and staff training in this area.

Sandie Smith, chief executive of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “The past two years have been a very difficult time for everyone. But our care home residents, their families and the staff who work there have been particularly affected.

"This report tells some very difficult stories and these are sobering to read."

The survey sample number was small at 43, which included two residents, two members of staff and 39 relatives, but the report provides an essential snapshot of life  during the period, from October 12 to December 22, 2021

Healthwatch says relatives told them accessing the “essential care giver” status — enabling vital care and companionship visits to residents — proved difficult or was not recognised by some care homes. 

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According to the report: "Most people were happy with the care and visiting situation in homes and felt homes had good Covid safety measures in place. 

There was praise for staff but also significant concerns about staff shortages with some reports of poor care as a result of this, including at the end of life.

Concerns were also raised about the impact of the long-term isolation on the mental health of care home residents due to the visiting restrictions."

The report has been welcomed by local councils and local NHS for providing "valuable" and "important" insights highlighting the challenges faced by care home staff, residents and their families.  

Healthwatch says it will now be writing to care homes in Cambridgeshire, including a copy of the report, and asking them to implement its recommendations. 

The recommendations are:

  • All homes should implement the Government’s care home visiting guidance
  • All care home should take up the new ReSPECT training programme —  this is a way of making sure people can plan what they want to happen as part of their care in a health emergency, particularly at the end of life.
  • Staffing levels should be adequate to provide for the quality of care people need.