Care Campaign for the Vulnerable - Our Christmas message
2020 has been truly a dreadful year for very many of us. The emergence of Coronavirus in early March has wreaked havoc for communities, businesses, many households and in our NHS. As the weeks and months passed and fatalities increased, repeated lockdowns have compounded the fear that life would never again return to ‘normal’.
Perhaps that has been most acutely felt by the families and older vulnerable people CCFTV seeks to support. Covid changed their lives almost overnight, splitting families apart for months on end, taking lives of elderly loved ones prematurely because initial responses to protect them were slow. Yes, we had never faced a pandemic of this severity yet instinctively major resources were deployed to protect the NHS, while little thought was given to older people living in social care environments. Indeed, in the initial few weeks older people were discharged into care homes as part of the strategy of not overwhelming the NHS. The sad reality was that very action resulted in the material transmission of infection to those care homes where it spread pretty much unchecked.
If that wasn’t enough to have to deal with, lockdowns subsequently placed restrictions on visiting care homes for weeks and months on end. Whilst many providers tried to ensure contact was continued via facetime etc, the reality is that for many residents no contact was their experience. No touch, no social interaction, no family visits whatsoever. For many residents in these environments that was immeasurably painful, depressing and overwhelming. Many deteriorated both physically and mentally as a result.
For long periods, the CQC inspecting regulator could not visit sites as a consequence of the lock down, so essentially services continued without monitoring. In the absence of monitoring technologies at the vast majority of care homes, unexplained injuries, untoward events, premature deaths etc remained just that; UNEXPLAINED.
It is our fervent hope that despite the best endeavours of very many care providers and herculean efforts by very many of their staff, that they will now understand and embrace the need for safety monitoring. Some of the technologies available today are offered with independent health and social care professionals undertaking the monitoring as frequently as required. In such circumstances,families are assured that a digital record exists of care delivery and is available to explain any incident that may have occurred during a period of time when a resident was alone.
Given the human cost so far of this pandemic, and in particular the volume of lives lost in the care home population, Care Providers, Regulators, Commissioners of Services, Staff representative groups, Relatives Associations, Campaigners and Legal professionals should be embracing and insisting upon the use of such technologies to ensure complete transparency around care delivery is available. An ability to conduct remote unannounced virtual audits would be of massive comfort to families who when restricted from visiting, know other independent professionals are monitoring remotely.
CCFTV would urge Government again to consider the mandatory use of such services. We must learn lessons from this awful pandemic that has claimed so many lives, a disproportionate number of which have been vulnerable elderly living in care homes. They were much loved by families who will miss them dreadfully and always wonder how their last few days and weeks had been. Monitoring systems would have provided many answers.
Our team at CCFTV feel privileged we will be with loved ones at Christmas. Our commitment to work even harder will continue with an even more determined drive to influence the need for safety monitoring in the care of our most vulnerable. We will be reflecting on the experiences that many of grieving families have faced this year and re commit ourselves to making even greater efforts in 2021 to ensure their voices are heard and that systems such as those we are calling for are implemented in care facilities as quickly as possible.
We would like to wish all our care sector stakeholders a lovely Christmas, with particular good wishes for those who have lost loved ones, to all our exhausted NHS colleagues, our communities key workers and the fantastic care sector staff across the UK including everyone who has shown unwavering support to Care Campaign for the Vulnerable.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PEACEFUL AND SAFE NEW YEAR