Surge in care home deaths blamed on PPE mistakes

This is the short “analysis” section taken from the Times article with the above heading. 

The point Owl wants to highlight is the comment that Public Health England believes the flow of people in and out of care homes is the main cause of outbreaks. 

The risk of this happening is a point Owl repeatedly made in the context of Abbeyfield’s insistence on closing the Shandford Care Home in Budleigh during the height of the epidemic.

Owl also knows of a number of cases where frail patients were moved out of hospital into care homes with no testing in order to free up hospital beds. 


Before this virus hit the decades-long neglect of social care was becoming a bigger political issue, with Boris Johnson pressured to make good on his promise to find a lasting funding solution. That ended when the virus put attention back on the NHS but the failure to create a functional care system has proven deadly.

Now that rising care home deaths have focused minds again the question is how to save lives. In a fragmented system of financially precarious private providers, poorly integrated into the health service, it was always going to be hard to issue consistent guidance and protective kit. Places designed for the elderly and frail were always going to be vulnerable.

Public Health England has said that many care home patients died before they could be tested.

It is welcome that tests are being expanded to any resident. Mobile units to descend on homes suffering outbreaks are promised to help bring them under control. But after making big promises, the government now has to deliver.

It believes the flow of people in and out of homes is the main cause of outbreaks. Stricter isolation may help but has issues: those with dementia could deteriorate if cut off. Good PPE for essential visitors seems a better bet and a website for social care to buy kit bought by the NHS is needed quickly.