Lambeth has 40 care homes located in the borough providing important valuable support to just over a 1,000 people requiring access to 24 hour care. Two thirds of the care is provided in a nursing home with the remaining third in residential care. In total Lambeth care homes employ nearly 1,500 staff.
There has been considerable focus on this sector of the care market during the Covid-19 pandemic with the mobilisation of local and national support and interventions. Through our strong relationships with local care providers and the work of Lambeth Together, health and social care partners have been working closely to keep care home residents as safe as possible while provide advice and support for staff who have been caring for some of our most vulnerable people at a challenging time for them personally and professionally.
While we are not currently seeing the same level of infections in our care homes as in the first wave of the pandemic, the general rise in covid-19 cases across London is a real cause for concern. There is a considerable focus on keeping our care homes safe, supporting staff and maintaining infection control and safe distancing regulations.
Some of the actions we've taken and changes that have been made to support care homes include:
- Daily contact with care homes to assess risks and provide additional support as required. This has included help to share and implement new national guidance and advice and sharing learning between homes through webinars on infection control, outbreak management and flu vaccination programmes
- Access to regular routine testing for residents and staff and direct support from our local public health and commissioning team for homes where there are recorded possible or confirmed cases of Covid-19, with measures in place to ensure homes can safely protect and isolate residents within the home wherever possible. This includes the testing of all residents being discharged from hospital to a care home
- Improved availability of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). All homes now regularly receive PPE orders from their usual supplier or emergency supplies via the Government Portal, and are less reliant on the Council however the council is maintaining PPE supplies in case they are needed.
- Advice and support to enable families to keep in contact with their loved ones both remotely and in person. This has including the promotion of a national scheme to roll out the availability of IPads to care homes and development of safe visiting guidance for care homes. We know that keeping in contact with families and close friends has been an important factor during the pandemic and continues to be a priority as we enter the second wave.
- Care homes have had increased support from local health services. Each of the 40 care homes now has a named lead clinician who works closely with other health service staff including consultants, pharmacists and specialist services to help residents get the care they need. As winter begins, the lead clinicians and local pharmacies have been providing seasonal flu jabs to residents and staff to keep them protected.
- Financial support – the council has invested extra funding in care homes since the start of the pandemic and has made a commitment to give care home providers an additional 5% top up to the beginning of October 2020 as well as administering the Infection Control Grant of £1.73 million. £1.3 million of which has gone to care homes with the remaining going to other care settings including extra-care and supported living schemes. A further £1.4 million from the Infection Control Grant has been allocated to Lambeth - a large percentage of which will be used to continue to support care homes over winter.