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Posted on 14/08/2020

Live-in care: The safest option during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, care homes – more than any other type of social care provision – have become synonymous with higher than average infection and death rates. The combination of older, frail and often already unwell people sharing communal living space, hospital-to-care-home discharge policies that in the early stages of the pandemic involved no testing prior to discharge, inadequate testing capacity within care homes themselves and failures in personal protective equipment (PPE) provision have proved to be disastrous, leaving numerous families with loved ones in care homes either bereaved or extremely worried.

It has been an acutely painful situation for all of us to watch, and from our perspective, at ENA it has led to an increase in enquiries as families search for an alternative option to their relative either remaining in their current care home or moving into a care home for the first time if their health is deteriorating.

Is live-in care really safer than a care home?

Public Health England’s ‘Pilot point prevalence survey of COVID-19 among domiciliary care staff in England’ that was published in July 2020, said:

“This pilot study provides evidence that the prevalence of COVID-19 among active domiciliary care workers is in line with the general population at this time and not a higher prevalence as observed in studies of front-line healthcare workers and care home staff observed earlier in the epidemic.”

This ties in with the anecdotal evidence that live-in care, which we specialise in providing, is indeed safer than a care home, most notably because:

  • One constant carer, living and working in the person’s own home and able to isolate/shield with the person as recommended, means that there is a low infection risk given the minimal or non-existent contact with other individuals.
  • Because of the lower numbers of staff involved, PPE is easier to source and provide for all of our live-in carers.
  • Testing, if needed, is also easier for us to obtain for our clients and live-in carers.

To date amongst our client group, we have only had one case of COVID-19, and no cases amongst our frontline staff team, with everyone making a full recovery. This is largely due to our model of care and strict infection control procedures that all of our live-in carers are required to follow.

Why more families are choosing live-in care

Live-in care has always been less well-known and certainly less commissioned than care home places, but the unique position it occupies in the social care landscape as the safest option during this pandemic for long or short-term care and support (including respite care) has meant many families are looking at live-in care for the first time.

Although the safety of a family member is often the primary reason for seeking out live-in home care at this time, there are numerous other benefits to our service, including:

  • Continuous, personalised care and support from a live-in carer who works for a maximum of 12 weeks at a time.
  • The person remaining in their own familiar environment, surrounded by all of their possessions, and without needing to sell their home to pay for the care that they need.
  • Continuing to live with a partner and/or pets without the heartbreak of having to leave them.
  • The person being able to maintain their own routine without having to conform to the requirements of communal living.
  • The person being able to continue to run their home and their day-to-day life as they wish – everything from what food to eat to what hobbies to pursue, all decided by the person (with support as needed).
  • Remaining at home if the person’s condition changes – we are able to support a wide-range of conditions, and can meet both complex care and end-of-life care needs

Support for an uncertain future

One of the most advantageous aspects of live-in care in these current uncertain times is that it’s future-proofed. None of us know what the next weeks and months may hold in relation to controlling COVID-19, but with live-in care for yourself or your relative, you don’t need to worry. If further lockdowns are needed, or strict isolation is recommended again for older and vulnerable people, anyone who has a live-in carer will remain safe, well cared for, and supported at home.

Find out more about how ENA Care Group could support you or your family by calling 08004 334 413 or emailing care@ena.co.uk.