Coronavirus: Join our campaign for support in social care

We have heard the Government announcing necessary support for the NHS. However, yet again, social care and those who desperately need it, have fallen to the bottom of the pile.

What is the impact of coronavirus on the care system?

The already stretched social care system has been devastated by coronavirus.

Care homes have shut their doors to visitors and many are operating with reduced staff. At the same time, it's estimated that 1.8million unpaid carers are becoming ill or self-isolating.

We have heard from thousands of people affected by dementia since the outbreak of coronavirus about the issues they have experienced with social care. From people who have become 24/7 unpaid carers overnight due to homecare being cancelled, to those not being able to contact loved ones living in care homes.

Based on what we have heard, we are working on the following priorities in this area.

Our campaign priorities

  • Testing and protective equipment - Making sure of availability in all care homes
  • Protecting social care standards - Responding to the Government’s emergency changes to the Care Act
  • Carers rights - Protecting the rights of paid and unpaid carers and keeping them connected with the people they support living with dementia.
  • Safeguarding - Working with local and national Government to uphold rights around Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
  • Training - Advising on how training of additional volunteers and workforce should be implemented, should these groups of people come into contact with people living with dementia.

Social contact in care homes

We have heard from many of our supporters about the devastating impact of not being able to visit loved ones living with dementia in care homes. Many people have noticed significant cognitive decline and deterioration in dementia since the lockdown began.

We know that good dementia care involves social interactions with others, and the lockdown is taking this away.

We want to make sure that support for people affected by dementia is a priority for the Government as they plan the easing of lockdown measures, and that social contact with loved ones is at the heart of this. The Government's plan must include:

  • Government to issue proper guidance setting out how care homes can work with loved ones to support people with dementia in this new phase of lockdown
  • A better understanding of how social isolation is contributing to the increase of dementia deaths and the role for contact with loved ones in saving lives
  • Protective equipment, testing and staffing supply issues addressed so that loved ones can visit and provide care
  • Loved ones who provide care and social contact for people with dementia living in care homes to be prioritised to get antibody tests

Help us get answers in the daily briefing

We want to make sure the Government know that people affected by dementia are being disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus, and they cannot be ignored.

Everyday, the Government hold a daily briefing, giving members of the public the opportunity to submit questions for the Government to answer.

If as many people as possible submit the following question to the daily briefings, we will hopefully be able to get an answer from Government. Help us make sure dementia does not fall off the Government's radar in these challenging times.

Submit a question for the daily briefing

Copy the following question, and click the button below to submit it to Government.

Having little to no social contact with loved ones is resulting in serious decline for many people living with dementia. There has also been a sharp rise in dementia deaths. How is the Government considering the needs of people living with dementia in care homes and the community in plans to lift lockdown?

The instructions on the page will take you through how to submit the question.

Submit a daily briefing question

What has been achieved so far? 

There are more than 400,000 people living in care homes in the UK, more than 70% of which are living with some form of dementia. Many of these people also have other underlying health conditions.

The Government must act to protect them.

We have already had some amazing successes influencing Government, including:

  • Calling on the Government to produce a specific strategy for tackling Covid-19 in the care sector, which they published a week after our letter to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  • Ensuring the Government committed to releasing daily data on the number of care home deaths, allowing us to understand the true impact of coronavirus on the care home sector
  • Calling on the Government to begin testing on asymptomatic care home residents and staff, which they have now committed to
  • Ensuring that the Government commit to the provision of training on dementia for care staff who may have little experience of caring for people with dementia

What must still be done?

We are so pleased to see the impact our campaigners have had so far, but we will not stop here.

We have heard from many people affected by dementia about the difficulties and worries they are having about being able to visit relatives with dementia in care homes during lockdown. We are working to find a solution to this and encouraging care homes and the Government to address it.

We are also working with local Government to ensure that care quality does not drop at this vital time for people affected by dementia, and that the rights of people affected by dementia are being upheld.

Our calls on local Government regarding care quality during the pandemic

We are aware that many local authorities are considering whether and how they adopt the Care Act easements introduced by the Coronavirus Act in England. These easements allow local authorities to temporarily relax certain responsibilities in order to prioritise care during periods of significant pressure, such as the current pandemic.

We want to make sure that those most at risk receive the most protection. Dementia is the second highest pre-existing health condition for people dying of COVID-19 in England and Wales, and many people with dementia will have underlying health conditions which put them at greater risk of contracting the virus.

We want to ensure that local authorities who adopt the easements continue to meet the needs of people with dementia and avoid this crisis leading to an irreversible deterioration in their condition.

You can read more about our calls on local Government adopting Care Act easements.

Read about our other coronavirus campaigns

  • Support in the NHS - campaigning for everyone with dementia to have access to critical care.
  • Support in society - campaigning for everyone with dementia to have access to food and essential services.
Will you share your story to support our campaign?

We need your help to understand how the current COVID-19 lockdown measures are affecting care home residents living with dementia and their loved ones

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