The Care Home Team is a cross-agency support team, made up of experts from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), Combined Healthcare and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.
It was set up in April 2020 and was paused over the summer months when cases in the city decreased but the service was restarted last month to help support the increase demand in care homes caused by increased cases of COVID-19.
Since the team was set up in April 2020 they have supported 104 care homes and helped over 2,000 care home residents across Stoke-On-Trent.
The Care Home Team’s work with care homes and extra care schemes across the city and insures they receive professional advice in a number of areas to combat the spread of COVID-19; including advice on infection control, testing for both staff and residents, advice on the use of PPE and how to access it and care planning for individuals. This support is provided both face to face and virtually depending on the requirements and preferences of the care homes.
In early April, at the start of the pandemic the team was created, before any specific guidance was set out by the Department of Health & Social Care. The Care Team’s aim was to provide additional support to care homes to help limit the spread of COVID-19 within homes across Stoke-On-Trent. A specially designed checklist covering 19 areas was devised to work through potential issues within the homes which also included taking account of residents’ individual wishes such as individual care plans and end- of- life preferences.
Deputy Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention & Control at Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust (MPFT), Dr Ian Turner said: “Our Infection Prevention & Control team has provided valuable support and advice to care homes across the city throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and is increasing the level of this support to care homes.
“This has involved carrying out site visits to look at the care home environment and offer professional advice. The feedback we’ve received has been very positive, with care home staff appreciating the support provided and the opportunity to discuss complex cases.
“MPFT remains committed to working alongside our partners to continue to offer this important service.”
The leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Councillor Abi Brown said: “Care homes have played an invaluable and crucial role throughout the pandemic, going through some of the worse times imaginable up and down the country.
“Our care home support team provided support, advice, guidance and training to all care homes registered to deliver care in Stoke on Trent, as well as providers who are delivering care in supported living schemes. The team has continued to support each home to complete a comprehensive checklist and where necessary the team has commissioned additional assurance through support from UNHM and a follow up visit using the Care Excellence Framework.
“Our aim was to support all homes across the city so we could try and get ahead in protecting residents; this is something we did successfully. Now we are seeing a rise in cases, we are once again offering support as we must continue to protect the most vulnerable, save lives and support our frontline care workers.”