Scottish Care comments on latest NRS figures on Covid-19

We are desperately sad to hear this week’s figures on COVID-19 related deaths, including the fact that three quarters of the deaths were of people aged over 75, and 33% of deaths took place in care homes.

Unfortunately, the particular impact of this virus on many individuals who are elderly, frail or have existing health conditions fits closely with the needs of our care home residents and makes this population particularly vulnerable.  It is why care homes continue to need all the support they can get in order to keep residents safe and well, including access to PPE, extra staff and other resources and we continue to work with national and local partners to ensure these supports are in place. 

It is important to note that in instances of COVID-19 in care homes and associated deaths, there should not be an immediate assumption that this reflects a failure of care homes to provide high quality support, to follow infection control guidance or to respond quickly to COVID-19 cases.  Unfortunately, we see that this virus does not discriminate in who it affects and it can get far and wide despite best efforts to limit it, including in settings such as care homes where a number of people with health vulnerabilities live in close proximity and are supported closely by a group of staff.  We welcome the wider health and clinical care support being given to care homes at this time, and we commend all staff who are doing their utmost to keep the environment safe and the  people they support well. We know they will be suffering the impact of resident losses too. 

We know that people, not least those with loved ones in care homes, will understandably be worried at this time and that is why we remain committed to ensuring that national and local supports for care homes, staff and residents are as robust as they can be.  Whilst it does not relieve the pain felt by those who have lost friends and relatives in care homes to this virus, it should also be noted that many residents with COVID-19 recover from it. 

These figures also highlight the need for dedicated mental health, bereavement and trauma support for all who are experiencing deaths as a result of COVID-19, including social care staff and the families of residents.  We are all being hit hard by the effects of this virus.