Government Adult Social Care Winter Plan - Alzheimer's Society comment

The Government has announced a new adult social care winter plan aiming to curb the spread of coronavirus infections in care settings through winter, including free PPE and £546 million Infection Control Fund.

Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society, commented:

'People in care homes, at least 70% of whom have dementia, have endured the devastating consequences of this pandemic.

'Despite best efforts from hardworking care staff, over a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths have been people with dementia, and the rise in care home infections that we’re now seeing - even though there has been little lifting of restrictions on those homes - is extremely concerning.

'We are keen to see further detail from the Government’s Adult Social Care Winter Plan but it is positive to see concrete steps already to prevent the devastating loss of life we saw earlier this year, such as the appointment of New Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care – we need to see this go one step further by ensuring nursing staff are allocated to individual care homes throughout the pandemic.

And with care homes across the country once again closing their doors, we must make sure people with dementia are not cut off from vital visits from their loved ones – we’re urging the Government to prioritise providing PPE and repeated, regular testing for both care home staff and for family carers. Where this isn’t possible, steps must be put in place to ensure regular contact can continue between residents and their loved ones.

'Coronavirus has exposed just how threadbare our social care system is and the lasting legacy from this crisis must be a universal system to provide quality care and free at all point of use to ensure that a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again.'