As the UK government continues to roll out three fully approved coronavirus vaccines nationwide, there’s growing optimism that we’ll soon be able to return to a relative state of normality.

This rule even applies in the care home sector, which was particularly hard hit by the virus during the first wave in 2020. In fact, it’s thought that up to 224,000 care home residents will have been vaccinated by the end of January, with this representing the vast majority of the 248,581 patients that exist nationwide.

In this post, we’ll look at how the sector has been impacted by the coronavirus, while asking what the experts say about how to cope during the pandemic?

Care Home Deaths and Tragedy — The Story so Far

The care home statistics make for incredibly grim reading in the UK, with some reports estimating that there were more than 30,500 excess deaths in this sector between March and the end of November last year.

Incredibly, there was an ever greater increase in fatalities amongst those receiving care at home (or domiciliary care), with these individuals also prone to other physical and mental health ailments as a result of isolation and stringent lockdown measures.

Of course, this issue was compounded by the relatively unexpected nature of the virus’s spread, while the initial governmental effort was clearly focused on safeguarding the NHS and preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

As a result of this, infected patients were often sent back to care homes prematurely, exacerbating the spread of the virus amongst vulnerable individuals and ramping up the death rate.

By August last year, it was thought that 40 per cent of all Covid-19-related deaths were accounted for directly by care home residents, while staff members continued to battle on and make incredible personal sacrifices (often without the requisite PPE provisions).

Speak to the Experts — What do They Have to Say?

Incredibly, the situation could have been even worse were it not for the efforts of proactive care home professionals, many of whom took brave steps to safeguard their residents and staff members before the virus became endemic.

Fortunately, care insurance specialists Marsh Commercial have spoken directly to some of these individuals, including Cheryl Wood from Casicare and Alexandra Wortley from Expertise Limited. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Be Creative and Positive

One of the biggest snippets of advice for best practice revolves around the need to be creative, and think outside of the box when it comes to keeping patients and stakeholders engaged.

This type of mindset also lends itself to positivity, which is crucial if you’re to embrace enforced changes and adapt to challenges in a successful manner.

2. Manage Around Adversity

Care homes have scarcely endured as much adversity as they did during the last 12 months, but trying to ignore this or failing to recognise the impact of the coronavirus pandemic remains a recipe for failure.

Instead, try to manage and navigate your way around adversity, as you look to adopt an agile mindset that responds to new challenges in real-time.

This definitely helps when managing precious PPE supplies and coping with rising insurance costs, which have hit care homes nationwide since last March.

3. Use Your Network

During times of austerity, relationships are key to sustaining normality and providing mutual and much-needed support.

With this in mind, you’ll need to utilise your network and make all viable relationships count as the pandemic continues to rage and as you look to work with your community and improve the lives of everyone involved with your care home.

By creating a wide support network that connects everyone within the business, you can also improve communication and maintain a smooth operation even in difficult times.