The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has this week published its first insight document which will form part of a regular series to highlight COVID-19 related pressures on the sectors that CQC regulates.
This document draws on information gathered through direct feedback from staff and people receiving care, the regulator's new regular data collection from services who provide care for people in their own homes, and insight from regular conversations with providers and partners.
The CQC's first insight document focuses on adult social care, reviewing data on outbreaks, deaths and availability of PPE, and highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on staff wellbeing and the financial viability of adult social care services. It concludes that, up to 10th May, more than a third (36%) of care homes had been affected by COVID-19.
It describes the need for whole system working across different sectors to ensure safer care. It also outlines future areas of focus, including infection control both within and between services, how local systems are engaging social care organisations in the management of COVID-19, and how care for people from vulnerable groups is being managed through the crisis.
Ian Trenholm said, 'This new insight document begins to gather together what providers are telling us about the impact of COVID-19 – information gathered through direct feedback from staff and people receiving care, from our new regular data collection from services who provide care for people in their own homes, and insight from our regular conversations with providers and partners.
'We’re already sharing this information with local, regional and national system partners to help target support – and using it to take action to keep people safe where needed. Where providers are reporting pressures and challenges, we want to increase visibility and ask questions about what needs to happen to help alleviate them.
'This is very much a developing product – it will undoubtably change and evolve with future publications. We don’t have all the answers, but we want to share what we know to help find solutions – because we are all now operating in an environment where the need to act quickly and collaboratively has never been more important.'
Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, has commented on the release of the CQC's first insight document, saying, 'Back in March when the country went into lockdown, if we had been told that over a third of care homes would be affected by COVID-19 we would have found that deeply shocking and worrying.
'The fact that we’re perhaps less surprised than we should be by the 36% figure is possibly because we’ve become used to bad news when it comes to COVID-19 and care settings. This shouldn’t be the case.
'We need to expect the best for the people who need care and support. It’s time to redouble our efforts to keep COVID-19 infections down in all care settings, but this can only be done by regular testing, PPE availability and the ending of any hospital referrals of people with COVID-19 back to care homes. We have seen care settings as incubators for COVID-19. Let’s see that turned around so that no one is fearful of being supported in a care setting.'
The full document is available to read on the CQC website.