During the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, older people were discharged from hospital to care homes to free NHS beds. This influx of new care home residents whose COVID-19 status was largely unknown added to the many challenges faced by care homes, whether ongoing or COVID-19-related, with serious consequences including an increased number of deaths among residents. The social care sector has been fragile for several years and the pandemic has brought the challenges faced by care homes to the forefront, prompting renewed calls for better funding and reform of the sector. This article describes the ongoing challenges that have undermined the care home sector for many years as well as the additional challenges created by the pandemic, before arguing in favour of urgent reform of the sector to improve staff education and training, move towards professionalisation of the social care workforce, and achieve integration of health and social care services for older people.
|Journal||Nursing older people|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 19 Jan 2021|
- Care homes; older people; COVID-19; workforce; training; professionalisation