ADASS has today published a survey that offers significant insight into the response in adult social care to the Coronavirus pandemic.
James Bullion, President of ADASS said: ‘The results of the survey paint a vivid picture of the devastating effect of Covid-19 upon millions of us. Those who have died prematurely, those who have had to grieve in isolation, those who have been discharged from hospital without the right assessment, those who have been unable to access community-based services, those who are isolated or shielding, those requiring safeguarding, those experiencing mental health or addiction crises, those experiencing domestic violence, and/or exploitation, and those who work in adult social care.
‘The Government must ensure that social care is never again left exposed to a pandemic. This starts by protecting those of us with care and support needs from the current and subsequent waves of Covid-19 and extends to ensuring social care is at the centre of all future emergency planning and preparation.
‘Whilst the wider population may be moving out of the coronavirus peak, Covid-19 will be with older and disabled people for a very long time. Easing the lockdown is about more than opening doors it is about unlocking people’s lives – restoring care and support, assessing needs, preparing for the inevitable surge in demand for care and enabling us all to live our lives again.
‘Learning the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government must seize the opportunity to reform and reset social care as part of the wider post Covid-19 recovery.
In response to the findings of the analysis, Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of VODG said:
“The ONS data shows the full extent to which the coronavirus pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the well-being of disabled people.
“Disabled people are more likely to be concerned about access to healthcare and treatment for non-coronavirus related issues than non-disabled people as well as experiencing greater feelings of loneliness as time goes by. It is a sobering reflection of our society, and of the systems in place to support people, that any inequity in experience is reported at all.
“Alongside this, today we have also learnt from the ADASS Coronavirus Survey 2020 that the onset of the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people requesting support from local authorities and worrying levels of unmet need.
The ADASS findings highlight a ‘concerning proportion of Directors who believe that there are insufficient primary and community services in their local areas to support local people’s needs’.
Dr Hughes goes on to say:
“ADASS highlight alarming trends, at a time when high quality support services are needed more than ever. If people are not able to access vital services, or are using services not appropriate to their needs, there needs to be an urgent review.
“The pandemic has had a profound impact on the social care sector and this latest research demonstrates the need for social care reform.
“Disabled people who use social care services and their families must be at the centre of our thinking in any future approach to finding solutions that work for everyone.
“VODG stands by to support any efforts that will help to secure sustainable and consistent support for disabled people across the country.”
Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:
“This survey adds to the growing body of evidence that social care was neglected at the start of the pandemic, with tragic consequences for families across the country. It paints a picture of a sector struggling to care for people in need, treated as an afterthought by government with support measures coming too little and too late. Hard-working social care staff have done their best with limited resources, but understandably feel let down by government promises of support that haven’t been delivered. In planning for future waves, social care must not be treated as afterthought to the NHS, but as an equal partner in an interdependent system.
“The responses suggest that there have been more people unable or unwilling to access the support that they need through the pandemic, which can have a profound impact on their lives. The focus to date has understandably been on infections and deaths from Covid-19, but the impact on others who need social care is just as important.
Only around one in ten social care directors believe that everyone in their area is being discharged to the right place to meet their needs first time. This could mean people don’t have access to rehabilitation and reablement services to help them live independently, or are inappropriately sent to a care home when they would be better off being supported to live in their own home. Inappropriate placement can have a real impact on quality of life, and this should not be forgotten in the pandemic.”