Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/nclexion/public_html/wp-content/themes/jnews/class/ContentTag.php on line 47
A new group, including senior nursing representatives, has been established in Northern Ireland to take forward a review on what can be learnt from “care home experiences of Covid-19”.
Plans for an initiative on care home experiences were first announced earlier this month by health minister Robin Swann, along with a range of other measures concerning the sector.
“We have seen a wide range of measures introduced by care homes to protect their residents and new learning continues to be identified”
Today, ministers said a steering group was now “underway” and included representatives from the independent care home sector, the health and social care system and the Royal College of Nursing.
The review steering group is being chaired by the Northern Ireland’s deputy chief nursing officer, Linda Kelly, the Department of Health said in a statement.
The review, labelled by ministers as a “rapid learning initiative”, will seek to identify learnings that can be taken forward to help the care home sector in the short term.
It has been asked to consider learning to date on the transmission of Covid-19 into and within the care home population, and to identify the monitoring and measurement processes that will help in “understanding the current system” and recommending the “appropriate way forward”.
In addition, four subgroups will be established to take the lead and provide expert advice to the steering group on specific area.
Theses are the experience of residents, staff and families in care homes; symptom monitoring and intervention and care planning; infection prevention control; and physical distancing of residents.
The steering group has been asked to provide a report on its findings to the chief nursing officer, Charlotte McArdle, by 17 July 2020, according to a document setting out the initiative’s aims.
The government also said that Ms McArdle had written to care home sector and support teams in each of the country’s five trusts informing them of the initiative and seeking their participation.
Announcing the creation of the group, Mr Swann said: “There is no doubt that Covid-19 has hit our care homes very hard.
“In the past number of months, we have seen a wide range of measures introduced by care homes to protect their residents and new learning continues to be identified and applied,” he said.
“It’s important that we now work together to identify those measures that had the most positive impact. This will help us understand what our health and social care system needs to do ahead of any future wave.”
Mr Swann said he was aware that coronavirus had “taken its toll” on residents, families, staff and care home providers.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in this process. For those of you who have been on the frontline, your experiences are critical in informing the learning,” he said.
“I must stress that the rapid learning initiative is not a research project, an investigation or an inquiry,” he said. “There will be a time to consider such processes.
“This is a collaboration between statutory bodies, the care home sector and the nursing profession to identify learnings that can be taken forward in the short term.”
He added: “I want to once again convey my thanks to care homes and their staff for the commitment, dedication and professionalism they have demonstrated throughout this pandemic.”
On 2 June, Mr Swann announced a further £11.7m package of support for care homes – including funding for sick pay for staff.
He said it would enable homes to pay staff 80% of their salary when on sick leave for Covid-19 related reasons and provide support with cleaning costs and access to specialist equipment.
Meanwhile on 17 June, he announced that there would be a new framework for nursing and medical input to care homes.
The move is in recognition of the greater proportion of care home residents that now have complex clinical healthcare needs than would have been the case in the past, said Mr Swann.
In England, a new “taskforce” has been set up by ministers to help the social care sector navigate the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The group will oversee the implementation of the government’s “social care action plan” and will work to prevent further Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes over the next year.
The announcement on 9 June was paired with a pledge for more virus testing capacity across the adult social care sector.