The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to publish an action plan to protect and support older people living in care homes in Wales.
Her call comes alongside the publication of a new report – Care Home Voices: A snapshot of life in care homes in Wales during Covid-19 – which highlights the issues and challenges that care home residents and staff have faced during the pandemic.
The report is based on the experiences of older people living in care homes, their families and friends, and care home managers and staff – whose voices are included throughout – and examines how the response to Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown have impacted upon older people.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“In recent months we have seen a tragedy unfolding in our care homes, and it has concerned me greatly that the voices of people living and working in our care homes – experts by experiences – have not been sufficiently heard.
“This report provides a snapshot of life in care homes in Wales during the pandemic and highlights the significant impact that Covid-19 has had on residents and staff, and the issues and challenges they have faced.
“It also highlights examples of good practice that has made a positive difference to older people’s lives during the past few months, particularly the dedication and commitment of care home staff.
“I have used the experiences shared with me to identify actions that are needed across a number of key areas to ensure that people living and working in care homes are supported and protected.
“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond and share their experiences with me. I know for some this would have been incredibly difficult, but it’s crucial that their voices are heard and are at the centre of plans and decisions about what happens in our care homes as we navigate the difficult path ahead of us.”
The Commissioner is calling on the Welsh Government to publish a specific action plan for care homes to allow constructive and responsible scrutiny of the action already underway or planned, and to provide reassurance to people living and working in care homes.
The Commissioner added:
“Without a published action plan, many older people and their families and friends, as well as the staff who care for and support them will not be assured that the right action will be taken at the right time to protect residents and staff.
“Publishing an action plan would also allow greater scrutiny of the decisions being made and the action being taken by the Welsh Government and other public bodies, which is crucial as we move forward.
“Alongside this, it’s also crucial that the voices of people living and working in care homes are heard and I will continue to reach out and engage with them and use their experiences as a powerful evidence base to influence policy and drive change for older people.”
Click here to download Care Home Voices