During the coronavirus pandemic, media reports concerning infection control in care homes, have led to an understandable loss of public confidence in the safety of elderly residential care.
Whereas the most frequently asked question on the Autumna advice lines was once: “Where’s the best care home near me?” this has been quickly superseded by the questions, “Are there any safe care homes near me?” and “How can I find a safe care home for my elderly relative?”
Our team at Autumna have struggled to give a definitive answer, because like the members of the public searching for ‘safe’ care homes for their elderly relatives, we’ve also found it hard, if not impossible, to find the information online.
So, we have launched S.A.F.E. (Symptom Assessment for Everyone).
We believe that if public confidence in the residential elderly care sector is to be restored, then care homes will need to show that they are doing everything possible, going forwards, to take control of, and eradicate, any infection outbreaks.
This is not about whether a care home is, or is not, COVID-free or has or has not had the coronavirus. It’s about being transparent and publishing details about the infection control practices in a home that will help people make informed choice when it comes to later life care.
One of the main ways to restore confidence will be through third party validation.
Many of the care providers Autumna speaks to on a daily basis, expressed a wish to publish their CQC Covid-19 Emergency Support Framework report and this is where we have started.
So, Phase 1 of our S.A.F.E. (Symptom Assessment for Everyone) campaign has been to develop a way in which they can do just that.
We have added a tab on all Autumna premium profiles that allows care homes to upload their individual report.
Once uploaded, the Autumna S.A.F.E. icon will be displayed and crucially, families will be able to search for care homes displaying the icon – care homes who are being transparent about how they are managing infection control effectively.
If you need help uploading your CQC Covid-19 report, we are always on hand to help.
This is just the start of our campaign to rebuild public confidence in the safety of care homes.
Advances in training methods, assistive and AI technology, will soon make routine daily testing for the symptoms of any infection, commonplace in a care home - not just for the residents and carers, but for visitors too.
And when those advances come, Autumna will be there to promote them, to promote the use of them and to allow families looking for elderly care, to search for them.
Our mantra at Autumna has always been transparency.
Going forward - and even after COVID has gone - we will want to add whatever third party data is available, to help reassure the public that care homes have the right training and infection control policies in place to make them the safest places to be for their elderly relatives.
We have always been very open to input from the care sector and the general public. We have big ideas for what Phase 2 and Phase 3 should look like, but you may have suggestions too.
We’d really like to hear from you. Email Debbie, call her on 01892 33 53 30 or set up a zoom meeting. Autumna is always keen to hear from others and collaboration is key.
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