Obviously, this year’s edition is particularly important given that it is the first one to deal with the impact that the corona virus has had on the sector and how that may have affected things.
The report was split into 4 different sections2), the first one was about what the quality of care was like before the pandemic, the second one covers the impact of the covid 19, the third one is about collaboration between partners and the fourth and final section is about looking forward, the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Quality of care before the pandemic
Up to the 31st March 2020 the care received in England was mostly of a good quality, 80% of adult social care services were rated as good and 5% as outstanding (31 July 2019: 80%, 4%). While it is clear that care providers were able to maintain the quality of care they provided, it is also clear that there was by and large no improvement overall. They did, however, warn that Adult social care remains very fragile, even before the pandemic, they said that the failure to find a consensus for a future funding model continues to drive instability in this sector, and they pointed to an urgent need for Parliament and government to make this a priority.
While the percentage of care companies rated Good or outstanding has been on the increase since 2015 the presumption is that this is due to the fact the any that have previously been rated either inadequate or poor have either improved or gone out of business. As well as an increase in funding to help companies improve they can also drive efficiencies through the adoption of a more digital approach.
THE impact of Covid-19 on care delivery
As the pandemic gathered pace, health and care staff across all roles and services showed resilience under unprecedented pressures and adapted quickly to work in different ways to keep people safe. Adult social care providers and staff have had to balance the priority of reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in services with the importance of maintaining a focus on the needs and rights of individuals in their care. Many services have used creative solutions to maintain social contact while still observing physical distancing, using video calling equipment so that the families and friends of people receiving care were stable able to see and speak to their loved ones. There was also mention of a homecare provider has been using tablet computers to record baseline observations of people using its service. Monitoring temperatures and vital signs has helped to identify early signs of infection, enabling them to apply 52 additional social distancing measures and to use consistent care teams to help limit any potential spread of the virus.
How digital solutions and technology can enhance collaboration
In part of section 3 CQC talked about digital solutions and technology, and they looked at initiatives in responding to COVID-19 and the impact they have had in terms of
organisations working together. They felt that some things has allowed oversight, advice, online prescribing, and data-driven decisionmaking around service delivery, and aided information sharing – including individual patient records and shared treatment plans. However, IT systems were sometimes a barrier – not all services had a digital presence, and not all people had online access. There were some concerns about the pace at which systems were implemented and some staff still didn’t feel confident using the new digital systems. Among the main reflections across all of their reviews, there is a call for further
development of a common integrated care record across care areas, with national support, across the system. People say this would enable much better information sharing and collaboration.
The challenges and opportunities ahead
From a challenging point of view, the impact of COVID-19 on adult social care has been severe. Care homes in particular have borne the brunt of a disease that disproportionately affects older people and those with multiple conditions and care needs. Adult social care staff have worked hard to keep people safe, but the sector, already fragile, has faced significant challenges. The final part of the report talked about how the pandemic had caused people to work together, and at pace, and asked that this continues to happen right across the country.
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- https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/20201016_stateofcare1920_fullreport.pdf – pages 17, 23, 33, 36, 51, 52, 75, 84, 91
- Reference: 2020, 2018/19: P34, 2017: P55,2016: P19.