By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter
Some care homes in Southwark already have enough PPE to get them through the winter, according to an update report going to Southwark council’s health and social care scrutiny commission next week.
As England heads into another lockdown, Southwark council officers have outlined how prepared care homes are now, and what measures are in place to protect vulnerable residents.
Between March and June this year, more than 28,000 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded in care homes in England and Wales – two thirds of them followed a positive test for Covid-19.
But now, in contrast to the first wave when thousands of patients were admitted to care homes without being tested, no one can be admitted to a Southwark home without a test.
Public Health Southwark also has a local back-up system in place if the national system falters.
According to the report: “All of the care homes for all client groups in Southwark are clear that they will not take an existing resident or a new resident from hospital without them being tested first and receiving the results.”
In line with current guidelines, there are designated discharge destinations for those who have tested positive for Covid-19 in hospital.
Those patients can only be transferred to a care home that the CQC has inspected and approved as a designated site that meets the infection prevention and control (IPC) standards and has adequate supplies of PPE.
If a resident or member of staff tests positive for the virus, the local public health team will advise the care home on what steps to take.
The council is doing weekly calls and fortnightly meetings with care homes, and has set up a dedicated GP services for older people care homes.
A WhatsApp group between health professionals was also set up and continues.
Daily reports and monitoring through the national capacity tracker now shows any home whose supply of PPE is dropping.
“This activates an immediate conversation with the care home to ensure they have arrangements in place for timely delivery of new supplies,” according to the report.”
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