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September 24, 2020

UK care homes are expecting Covid-19 second wave

UK care homes are expecting Covid-19 second wave

According to statistics, between early March and early August 2020 care homes in England and Wales registered 26,500 excess deaths. As a result, many families are now looking into alternative options for their elderly family members who are in need of care. It has also been reported that there has been an increase in the number of older people who have opted for live-in care as well as an increase in the number of older people who have chosen to move in with homeowners who have spare rooms.

According to Caterina Alacevich, Nicolò Cavalli, Osea Giuntella, Raffaele Lagravinese, Francesco Moscone and Catia Nicodemo’s opinion piece, the total “recent reports have indeed suggested that the hazard of care homes was not limited to their residents, but also extended to the staff and to visiting relatives.” According to their findings, Italy was the first country in Europe to experience a severe Covid-19 outbreak and the excess deaths in Lombardy’s care homes were also at the centre of media and policy attention.

“And it’s not only in Italy: for example, a major political controversy has erupted in New York State over the same issue. The living conditions of the elderly in nursing and care homes are the subject of rapidly rising attention amidst dramatic reports of death rates in long-term residential and nursing facilities, described as “besieged castles,” during the pandemic. In several of these facilities, lack of adequate protocols for containment may have led to a rapid and lethal spread of the virus.” they write.

One alternative to care homes in England is CareRooms. Approved hosts on the website help elderly people who are unwell by providing beds, meals and companionship to those who have been discharged from hospital, or those who need a break. CareRooms received some adverse publicity in 2017 but the healthcare entrepreneur Paul Gaudin and his daughter Lizzie Gaudin persevered as they felt there is a widespread need for their business idea. Whilst bookings have been suspended during the Covid-19 crisis, bookings will be available on a phased basis from next week.

Read Caterina Alacevich, Nicolò Cavalli, Osea Giuntella, Raffaele Lagravinese, Francesco Moscone and Catia Nicodemo’s opinion piece Excess deaths in care homes during the pandemic.

Find more IZA World of Labor coronavirus content on our curated topics pages: National responses to Covid-19 and Covid-19—Pandemics and the labor market.