Covid-19 research: Private care homes in Scotland were more likely to be infected

Research published in July, missed by me a the time but now shared with me by a reader suggests a strong correlation between infection levels in care homes which were, for the elderly, large and in private ownership.

Carried out by staff at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities in association with researchers at 9 health boards in Scotland, it found:

Sixty-six (94.3%) outbreaks were in older people’s care-homes, where 60.6% had experienced an outbreak compared to six (5.0%) of all other care-home types (Table 2). Care home characteristics systematically varied by care-home type. Older people’s care-homes were much larger (median 48 beds vs eight for all other types combined), more likely to be in private ownership (67.9% vs 30.0%)

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.09.20149583v1.full.pdf

8 thoughts on “Covid-19 research: Private care homes in Scotland were more likely to be infected”

  1. BBC’s radio station in Scotland 9am news Ken MacDonald. Covered a report on Covid-19 in Carehomes (possibly the one above) he found that excess deaths in Scotland’s care homes were Lower than in England and Wales. BUT of course they found a negative, the proportion of care homes that had infections was higher in Scotland.

    There were two half hour segments on the Edinburgh Festival I’ve heard 4 voices, 2 English and 2 Irish, Scotland’s input was from Pauline Maclean the interviewer. Are We to take from this that the Success of the Edinburgh Festival has nothing to do with the indigenous population.

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    1. The default position of BBC Scotland News is that if they cannot find data which indicates Scotland is ‘worst’, then the next is to find something which implies Scotland has not been ‘all that much better’ than the rest of the UK. Often this is emphasised by choosing another country which has a notably better rate than Scotland’s, without presenting the range of international data for context.

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      1. CONTEXT, for the BBC—-a message from a Tory, usually dismissive of Scottish interests, condescending and probably untrue.

        But broadcast verbatim.

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  2. Although the study linked here (first link) says that the research may not apply across all of the sector, it identifies issues around staffing that affects quality of care in care homes.

    Click to access Recruitment_and_retention_report.pdf

    “COVID-19 is putting unprecedented pressure on people working in adult social care. However, even before the pandemic, staffing was the biggest single challenge for the sector in England.
    High and increasing staff turnover rates – the proportion of staff leaving their roles in the previous 12 months – are a major workforce issue in social care. Research indicates that this makes it more difficult to attain and maintain high standards of care.
    Skills for Care estimates suggest that approximately 440,000 directly employed social care staff in England left their jobs in 2018/19. This amounts to a turnover rate of 32.2% for directly employed staff in local authorities and independent providers. The turnover rate has increased by 9.1 percentage points since 2012/13.”

    https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/charts-and-infographics/even-before-covid-19-high-workforce-turnover-rates-posed-a-

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  3. Some idea of the problems that a trade union has in this area of work (care homes) can be seen here.

    I would say that no member of the Appeal Court (England) has ever been a main or sole carer for someone with Alzheimer’s.

    https://www.unison.org.uk/care-workers-your-rights/

    “UNISON is the UK’s largest union, and we’re the union for care workers.

    Sleep-ins, impossible rotas, zero hours contracts, unpaid travel time, just fifteen minutes to care. When you’ve got a problem, we’re right there to help you.

    There are around half a million home care workers in the UK Like you, many are facing issues at work.

    Latest on sleep-ins for care workers
    Supreme Court grants UNISON leave to appeal
    The UNISON-backed case argues that sleep-in shifts should count as working time and be paid at least hourly minimum wage rates.”

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  4. “Clinicians treating care home residents should be aware that neglect is common in care homes and that person-centred activities such as trips out or activities tailored to residents’ interests are often happening very infrequently,” they added.

    Dr Doug Brown, chief policy and research officer at Alzheimer’s Society, noted that 70% of people in care homes had dementia and it was “clear from these findings that they’re bearing the brunt of a chronically underfunded social care system”.

    “It’s upsetting but unsurprising that abusive behaviours were more common in homes with higher staff burnout,” said Dr Brown.”

    https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/research-and-innovation/care-home-staff-say-neglect-is-common-but-driven-by-pressure-22-03-2018/

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  5. Let’s face facts, if there were not something fundamentally and fatally awry with how the private care-home sector in Scotland responded to the impact of Covid, Kilgour and friends would not be trying so damned hard to do a “Boris” and convince the populace “it wasn’t me”.
    Ably assisted by Pacific Quay, Carlaw and Leonard in Holyrood, it has all been a massive SG disaster, but that’s politics, or is it?
    What a massive slap in the face to the thousands of NHS, Carers and specialist staff who worked their socks off to collaboratively contain a pandemic never seen in the UK this century, with SG tirelessly trying to plug the gaps, yet with insufficient putty to shut up Jackass, Leotard, and the massed media of England who had no such problem on their own doorstep…Eh?
    SiU working with the Tories and Labour and Scottish Business UK to accomplish political change is nothing new, but Karma never forgets, neither do the Scots…

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