The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) has worked alongside the Public Health Agency and Department of Health to secure a further £11.7m financial support package for care homes to help them meet the challenge of the pandemic.
The funding will enable care homes to pay their staff 80% of their salary when on sick leave for Covid-19 related reasons; to facilitate care homes to continue to implement significantly enhanced cleaning regimes; to purchase new equipment such as thermometers and pulse oximeters which record clinical observations for early identification of a wider range of symptoms; and to support the use of tablet devices so that residents can communicate with their family and friends whilst visiting restrictions remain in place.
Welcoming the funding, Marie Roulston, Director of Social Care and Children at the HSCB commented: “Following the publication of our Care Home Surge Plan last month, care homes remain our key focus in our fight against Covid-19. We continue to work closely with our colleagues across HSC and the Department of Health to ensure care homes receive as much support as possible at this challenging time. The plan ensures a robust integrated Medical, Nursing, Social Care response to any outbreak and to keep those homes that are free from the virus that way.
Mrs Roulston added: “I fully appreciate that this crisis has caused so much fear and anxiety to care home residents, their families and the staff, and I offer my sincere sympathies to those families who have sadly lost loved ones during this pandemic who are now bereaved and grieving.
“Protecting people who live in care homes and supporting the dedicated staff that care for them, is of immense importance for us at the Board and we remain committed to work with care home providers over the coming months to support them against the threat of this virus which is by no means over.”