A report submitted to Government today sets out an extensive support package for care homes and other care settings across the county, helping them to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

Recognising the significant risk to the most vulnerable in the county, the county council and clinical commissioning group, supported by colleagues from the wider Local Resilience Forum have, since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, increased support available to care settings in the county. This includes:

  • Gloucestershire’s Local Resilience Forum (LRF) has made sure all care homes have adequate stock levels of PPE, with drops being made 24 hours a day to those who need supplies. Modelling of the ‘burn’ rate for PPE across social care has been carried out to help ensure there continues to be adequate supplies across the county
  • 23 trainers have been working with homes on the use of PPE. So far 80% of the county’s 229 care homes have taken up the training. 133 have received it face to face (reaching at least 876 care staff), with a further 52 choosing to receive it virtually. Further work is ongoing with those homes who have so far not taken up the training on offer
  • Daily infection prevention and control advice, education and support given to those homes in greatest need
  • Via the national digital care home portal, the county’s Director of Public Health has submitted a prioritised list of care homes for testing.
  • Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) and NHS staff have teamed up to help care homes in the county with testing residents and staff for Covid-19. The Accelerated Care Home Provision Outreach Service has been set up to improve access to Covid-19 testing and deliver local support to care homes where the need is greatest
  • All hospital patients are screened for 48-72 hours before discharge and two Hospital Discharge Support Units are used to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 Further capacity has been set up for people coming out of hospital who don’t have covid-19 until their existing provider can support their care needs again.
  • A fast track carers recruitment service is available to all care providers, including care homes. This service includes advertising, shortlisting, interviewing, DBS and reference checks online induction and matching for a provider
  • A Supplier relief funding has been established, with a payment made to all care providers in April and May, equivalent to 10% of monthly fees, to support additional COVID-19 related expenditure. This payment is in addition to the agreed inflationary increase of 3.58% for care homes. Further payments of 10% are planned after May, subject to evidence of appropriate spend.
  • Gloucestershire Care Providers Association has held webinars for care providers three times a week, to update them on guidance, offer support and answer any questions. Officers from health and social care have taken part in a number of these sessions
  • GPs across the county are carrying out virtual ‘ward rounds’ to support care homes and are continuing to provide face to face medical support to residents as needed. Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Care Home Support Team has also provided additional support during this challenging period

Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council said: “By working closely with colleagues across the county we have been able to deliver a large and varied support package to the county’s care homes and wider care sector – vital supplies, training and funding. This has been a fast moving situation and where providers have provided feedback we have adapted our approaches so they are as effective as possible.

“I would like to thank all those in care settings across the county and colleagues health and social care for their continued dedication and efforts. I’d also like to thank the volunteers who have come forward to help during this time of crisis.

“There have been a number of outbreaks in the county’s care settings and sadly people have lost their lives as a result of Covid-19. Our thoughts are with all those who have lost someone dear to them”

Accountable Officer at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Mary Hutton said: “Together as an NHS and care family we have been working across organisational boundaries to put the health, wellbeing and safety of care homes residents at the fore as we developed and accelerated our programme of support to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

“Key to our approach has been further strengthening hospital discharge and testing arrangements and building ever closer working relationships with care homes through a collaborative approach to training, education and medical support.”

See the full report here.