The Strategic Director Social Care and Education submits a report to provide the Adult Social Care Scrutiny Commission with an overview of the ongoing work and support provided by Adult Social Care (ASC) services, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Members are recommended to note the report and provide any comments and feedback to the Strategic Director and Executive.
The Strategic Director Social Care and Education submitted a report which provided the Commission with an overview of the ongoing work and support provided by Adult Social Care (ASC) services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Members were recommended to note the report and provide any comments and feedback to the Strategic Director and Executive.
Councillor Russell, Deputy City Mayor, Social Care and Anti-Poverty, thanked officers working in Adult Social Care who she described were absolutely incredible. She stated staff had gone above and beyond their normal duties and had thought through every possible option to keep service users safe in challenging circumstances.
Ruth Lake, Director of Adult Social Care and Safeguarding, presented the report. Key messages to note included the service had been able to continue to provide the core statutory offer to ensure the safety of individuals and by ensuring they continued to receive the care and support they needed. It was further reported that home visiting had been reduced in order to avoid non-essential visits whilst following social distancing guidance.
It was reported that there was a reduction in elective hospital activity and enablement referrals had fallen. It was further noted there was lots of capacity to meet demand across all services due to a reduction in the level of usual business, but levels were beginning to return to normal. Members were informed there had been a significant change in the number of alerts being made, largely because people were worried about their neighbours. Officers continued to work hard to enable all front-line services to continue safely and ensure safety and wellbeing of staff.
Tracie Rees, Director of Adult Social Care and Commissioning, referred to the services for vulnerable individuals being provided by external providers. Officers were working closely with care homes of which there were 103 in the city. The Council had a contact with 99 of those but continued to work with them all to monitor the impact of the virus, including levels of PPE to ensure safe working practices.
It was reported the Council had also secured a block contract with a local care home for the provision of 15 isolation beds for patients discharged with Coivid-19 or were showing symptoms of infection.
There had also been extra support for domiciliary care and supported living providers to ensure no one was waiting for a package of care to be arranged. There was also ongoing support to voluntary sector providers.
It was noted that Hastings Road Day Centre had closed on 20th March due to the pandemic. Staff had continued to provide an outreach support service to prevent crisis, and to enable people to access other community services.
Members noted that testing was ongoing with kits delivered to every care home in the zone marked out. The Council continued to work with county colleagues to ensure test kits were available, regular webinars were held to share timely information, and additional finance had been provided to the whole of the care market to cover additional costs incurred. It was noted there would be challenges moving forward in terms of the sustainability of the market, such as the reduction in the number of those going into care homes, and viability issues around workforce levels, and issues had been flagged at national level.
Work was in progress to determine the impact of Covid-19 on the Adult Social Care workforce and wider social care market, and officers would work through lessons learnt and bring back a report to the Commission for consideration.
The Chair thanked officers and staff who had worked tirelessly to provide service to constituents which were vital. He asked officers to pass on best wishes and sincere thanks to staff.
Members than asked questions of officers and the following responses were given:
· With concerns raised about a spike in numbers and second wave of Covid-19 cases, it was re-emphasised that testing had increased with a team working with those in national government to increase testing on care homes residents and staff. It was reported that testing on residents was undertaken monthly as it was uncomfortable for residents. Testing on staff was being done weekly. A letter had also been sent to care providers regarding the use of PPE. The risk of staff testing positive would reduce the number of staff, and an emergency workforce was being used. The key issue was nursing staff, as some homes could only operate if nursing support was on site.
· There may be challenges for care homes in returning back to normal. Having received government money with less residents, there were concerns about the viability of some homes being able to continue to operate with reduced fee income, whilst still having the same bills and costs. There had also been a slow down of the number of people placed into care homes. A national report had been commissioned through the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).
· It was noted that loved ones were not actually able to visit hospitals or care home settings. It was acknowledged that transition from hospital could be concerning. It was reported that there had been no spike in hospital admittance numbers, and no issues with discharge from hospital. It was further noted that care homes were being as supportive as they could be, for example, through connecting loved ones together via video and teleconferencing. Feedback about care staff had been very good.
· In terms of the voluntary sector, there had been no additional funding, but importantly no cuts to existing funding. Officers would provide further detail for Commission Members on funding support provided.
· Information received so far indicated that Covid-19 increased cases were in the working age population. Whilst recognising it might not directly affect those they usually worked with, they might have extended families at risk.
· The Council had written to all care providers to remind them of the additional protective measures to take. Messages had also been put out to the community to make sure the frail and elderly population knew where to go for help and testing. There was a geographical arrangement to provide support to identify those that were vulnerable who would be contacted proactively to ensure arrangements were in place to support them.
· There was continuing support to people who were shielding. There was confirmation that food parcels were not decreasing but were increasing.
· The Council continued to reiterate messages to people in East Leicester, to ensure people remained vigilant with measure to keep them safe.
· Officers visiting residents were using PPE and were confident they were not carrying infection into or out of people’s homes.
· Post code data had just been received of people having been diagnosed with having Covid-19, and analysts were busy looking at the data. The Council had the ability to run information through Liquid Logic, and post code data could be used to cross match to identify vulnerable people. It was noted that whilst there was an increase, officers were not seeing this translate into hospital admissions.
· Through the Leicester Employment Hub, 12 care workers had secured direct employment with care providers.
· The Authority still continued to provide funding for lunch clubs, and some had continued to provide food deliveries.
· Under lessons learnt work was in progress to determine the impact of Covid-19 on mental health, and people using services, carers and staff would be signposted towards self-help networks. The Richmond Fellowship was also providing mental health support by telephone to people who may need then during this time.
· It was queried if there were facilities for people who needed to shield from a family member who had tested positive for Covid-19, but people should try to isolate following government guidance.
· It was reported there were issues around data protection and the use of post code data from Public Health England and what it could be used for. It was stated that safe usage of the data could be demonstrated.
The Chair thanked the officers for the report.
1. The report and comments by the Scrutiny Commission Members be noted.
2. An ongoing response to Covid-19 be brought back to the next meeting of the Commission.
3. That an item be included on the use of Liquid Logic combined with the post code data from Public Health England in generating a targeted shielding response with regards to the outbreak.