Supporting care home residents and staff during COVID-19

5 June 2020

Working with health and social care colleagues

Continuity of care and a holistic, person-centred approaches are core qualities of GP care.

These are of particular value for our most vulnerable patients, including those who live in residential and nursing homes.

GP practices have responded extremely rapidly to the COVID-19 challenges, adopting new ways of working to minimise risk to care home residents and for clinical teams.

Many practices have introduced regular, virtual 'ward rounds' and video discussions with care home staff, which care home providers welcome.

These contacts are valued at times of such significant change and uncertainty.

RCGP support

The College has published Top Tips for GPs Caring for Care Homes.

This guidance captures examples of excellent practice that have emerged, including new approaches to the delivery of safe and effective GP care, as well as supporting care home staff in the challenges they face, such as:

  • the appropriate use of personal protective equipment
  • testing arrangements
  • the challenges of maintaining isolation for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the care home setting.

Communication

This is a complex environment with multiple partner organisations engaged to provide support and advice and to ensure the quality and safety of the services provided.

In order to affect the best outcomes, we need to understand this wider network and the roles and responsibilities of those involved. The importance of good communication is a recurrent theme in this context.

Digital technology is enabling dialogue between multiple partners and allowing these relationships to develop.

A collective response to the challenges faced, provides significant reassurance to the care home teams who are often working in very difficult circumstances.

These are difficult times, but this strengthened and more coordinated support for some of our most vulnerable patients may be one of the most positive outcomes of the COVID-19 response.


Post written by

Doctors Karen Gully, Shanti Karupiah, Tom Kneale and Suzanne Thickens

Dr Karen Gully is a Clinical Director in Primary Care in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Quality Lead for RCGP Wales. She supported the RCGP Advocate Programme through which local GPs worked with health boards to highlight the work of the College and the educational and research resources that it provides.

Dr Shanti Karupiah, Dr Tom Kneale and Dr Suzanne Thickens held advocate roles in Swansea Bay, Betsi Cadwalladr and Aneurin Bevan University Health Boards respectively and all retain an interest in quality improvement initiatives arising from the COVID-19 situation.

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