Sadly, the predicted rise in COVID-19 cases over the winter has become a reality and is affecting the home care sector. Many older people are refusing to go to hospital even when they have acute problems, and the number of care home deaths this year includes thousands relating to the virus. Indeed, the care home sector is struggling like never before and many risk going out of business because people are understandably doing whatever they can to keep their loved ones out of them.
This means that there is going to be a consequent rise in the need for people to care for the vulnerable and elderly in their own homes. But when COVID-19 is spreading, providing safe at home care is a challenge.
The physical and mental health needs of the elderly, plus the others who are isolating alone at home, have had a major effect on at home care provisions. There is not enough funding for the provision of adequate public services, and the problem will probably get worse over the next few years as the percentage of the population who are over 65 rises.
In Hampshire, the council is helping to trial robots which they hope will support home care workers when they need to perform physical tasks. There are even developments in robot pets and robots designed to interact socially with isolated and lonely people. But we’ve learnt over lockdown that while technology has been brilliant at helping us feel connected, having a social life over Zoom is not nearly as satisfying or enjoyable as being in the same room with real people.
In the short term, the use of PPE and safety measures are vital to help protect individuals who are in need of home care. Artisan Aunties are scrupulous in taking precautions to protect their clients at the same time as providing the high levels of care and friendship that are both so important to help vulnerable people live independently at home.
All our staff is clear about their responsibilities when it comes to providing a COVID-secure service. We ensure that our Aunties (& Uncles) are provided with and wear the correct PPE to protect their clients, and will always observe our safety guidelines:
The reputation of care homes was tarnished by news stories highlighting abuse and neglect long before the consequences of the pandemic piled on even more mistrust when COVID patients were discharged in care homes – with plans to repeat this policy in the second wave.
It is therefore probable that in the future, there will be an even greater demand for good quality at home care and support. There are thousands of amazing people in the UK who do a terrific job of looking after the medical, practical and emotional needs of people who want to live well independently at home.