Almost half the care homes in England cannot accept new admissions, finds survey

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14th January 2022 18:05 - Health

Almost half the care homes in England can not accept new admissions due to Omicron: A survey of care homes by the National Care Forum (NCF) has found that nearly half the providers across England are closed to new admissions, due to the impact of Covid-19 and specifically, the Omicron variant.

The survey polled members of the NCF in January 2022, finding that 43% of care homes were unable to take on new patients, while almost two-thirds (66%) of providers have had to refuse new requests for homecare (66%), and a fifth (21%) said they have had to hand back packages for homecare. 

The research also highlighted that absences of staff due to Omicron are ‘compounded by existing vacancy rates’ of 18%, meaning an overall shortage of 32%. 

Measures to cope with staff shortages

When asked what measures they have taken to cope with reduced staffing levels, 97% said staff were taking on additional shifts, while 81% said they have had to increase their use of agency staff. Almost three-quarters of providers (72%) report that admin and management are helping to cover care duties, while two-thirds (66%) said they are having to work with lower staffing level than planned. One in twenty reported having to access staff from other care organisations to bridge the gap.

Testing challenges

Care providers surveyed, including  dementia care and residential and nursing care for older people, specialist support for people with learning disabilities and mental health services, said that amongst the Covid-19 testing challenges they faced, PCR test result delays were the leading issue (81%), while a third (32%) were unable to access lateral flow tests (32%), and 23% had experienced ‘other’ testing issues.

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