When news of India’s 20 million cases of Covid hit, and Chile continues to battle the virus even after high levels of vaccinations, we were all reminded of the importance of remaining cautious, adhering to guidelines such as social distancing, and protecting our service users and the health and social care workforce.Despite the signs of a return to normality we must continue to tread carefully to ensure further outbreaks of Covid-19 and any health crises which occur in the future don’t once again have a significant impact on carers, vulnerable people, and their families.
This is particularly important for care home operators and people caring for the vulnerable. While care settings have begun to ease out of lockdown and reintroduce visitors, we still cannot consider this a full return to normality, and there is more we can do to improve the resilience of our care system for the longer term.
With the risk of vaccines being less effective in the face of Covid-variants, we must bear in mind that we are still at risk of unique pressures being placed on our health and social care services, such as a potential third wave of Covid-19, a backlog of routine care, and flu season coinciding with other viruses. According to government modelling, there could be up to 30,000 further fatalities due to Covid by summer 2022 which would affect vulnerable people, their relatives, and care staff.
There are a number of things that social care providers can do to increase the resilience of our services, and continue to provide effective care for vulnerable people, particularly those with chronic conditions:
Investment in technology and collaboration between services is particularly important to ensure we’re able to mitigate the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and are able to effectively meet the challenges that continue to arise including delivering care for chronic conditions, staff burnout, and the emotional impact on vulnerable people and their loved ones. The more prepared our services are, the better care is provided which keeps people healthier for longer, meaning they will be better protected should another health crisis occur.
As we build back better after COVID-19, proactive and preventative technology can help us look to the decades ahead with confidence and safeguard our services for the future. Investing in technology will enable us to fulfil the aims of the NHS, and enable care to become more community-based. This is a unique moment when we must continue to build on the audacious legacy that makes the NHS and social care provision the very best of Britain. We must seize it.
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