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Care homes need urgent funding so staff can decide on family visits this Christmas, the report warns




Care homes are in dire need of more funding to enable family visits this Christmas, a major report concluded yesterday.

Ninety-four percent of care home managers are trying to arrange visits, but the cost of doing so is a major hurdle, the National Care Forum (NCF) found.

She said an urgent injection of government funds is needed to meet Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s commitment to open testing to all visitors to holiday care homes. Last week, the Daily Mail launched a campaign calling on ministers to ensure residents stay with their loved ones in time for Christmas.

One of our top five requirements is that care homes have sufficient funds to pay for personal protective equipment and bars or visiting rooms.

The NCF found that care homes spent an additional $ 4,000 on average last month to help relatives see their loved ones.

This was before the introduction of Government guidelines recommending the installation of Perspex floor-to-ceiling screens, which have accumulated more financial pressure on homes.

NCF found care homes spent an additional $ 4,000 on average last month to help relatives see their loved ones

The NCF survey covered 1,240 care homes, 28,810 residents and 35,124 staff.

Vic Rayner, director of NCF, said the additional costs included money for “managing visit reservation systems and keeping staff available to support visits through windows and gardens”.

Care chiefs warned that more money would be needed to enable all visitors to be tested as the Government Infection Control Fund covering the funds for personal protective equipment is insufficient.

Additional financial assistance for care homes was needed “quickly,” Ms. Rayner said.

“Then they can start and do the planning, and we can move on to the position where the visit is scheduled and the visit is available to everyone in a planned way so that we can communicate properly with residents and relatives. their and loved ones, “she added.

The NCF survey included 1,240 care homes, 28,810 residents and 35,124 staff.  Photo of a sketch of an elderly woman lonely behind the glass

The NCF survey included 1,240 care homes, 28,810 residents and 35,124 staff. Photo of a sketch of an elderly woman lonely behind the glass

Despite the financial challenges, care experts said they were preparing for Christmas fashion and promised the staff would do their best to bring residents joyful celebrations.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor Hanover care group, said: ‘Santa has done his test and he is on his way. And there are many activities going on. Food is always an important part, the dining experience is critical for people living in care homes.

‘We have our Christmas cake competition always in very competitive process.’

She added: ‘People who have loved ones living in care services can be assured that our front-line colleagues are absolutely shunned every year to make Christmas special and they will really focus this year.’ Fiona Carragher, of the Alzheimer’s Association, said: ‘What is amazing to see is how many care homes understand the importance of making people with dementia reunite with their family caregivers with so many trying to allow more visits. ‘

Referring to a review trial launched Monday at 20 care homes in Hampshire, Devon and Cornwall, she added: ‘The government [testing] the pilot is fine and well, but if there is not enough money to pay PPE and extra staff time to perform quick return tests, the doors will close.

‘People with dementia in care homes can not be left at the mercy of’ if-only, but-when or ‘when.’

MP Liz Kendall, shadow care minister, said families were ‘desperate’ to visit loved ones after eight months of the pandemic. ‘Care homes have shown us how important family visits are to the mental health and well-being of residents,’ she said.

‘Despite promises to ensure family visits can resume before Christmas, the government has not backed this up with resources to accomplish this.’

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Welfare said: ‘We have provided over 1. 1.1 billion to support adult social care providers to take key steps in improving infection prevention measures, as well as 6 4.6 billion in funding for the authorities local to address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including social care for adults.

‘We know that some care homes have taken innovative approaches to allow visits, which is reflected and encouraged in our updated guidelines.’

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