Reimagining care homes: can the COVID-19 pandemic act as a catalyst for enhancing staff status and education?
evidence and practice    

Reimagining care homes: can the COVID-19 pandemic act as a catalyst for enhancing staff status and education?

Deidre Joan Wild Visiting professor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, England
Ala Szczepura Professor of health technology assessment, Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, Coventry University, Coventry, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To familiarise yourself with the challenges that have affected the care home sector in recent decades

  • To understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on care home staff and residents

  • To consider how care homes may be reformed to achieve integration of health and social care services for older people

During the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, older people were discharged from hospitals to care homes to release NHS beds. This influx of new residents whose COVID-19 status was largely unknown added to the many challenges already experienced by care homes, with serious consequences including an increased number of deaths among residents. The social care sector has been fragile for several years and the pandemic has brought the challenges experienced by care homes to the forefront, prompting renewed calls for improved funding and reform.

This article describes the ongoing challenges and additional challenges caused by the pandemic in the care home sector. The authors argue for urgent reform to enhance the status and education of care home staff, move towards registration of the social care workforce in England, and achieve integration of health and social care services for older people.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1321

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

ab7633@coventry.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

Professor Ala Szczepura’s work is funded as part of the Data Driven Research and Innovation (DDRI) Programme for Ageing at Coventry University. The sponsor did not play any role in the writing of this article. This article reflects the viewpoint of the authors. The two authors contributed equally to the writing of this article

Wild DJ, Szczepura A (2021) Reimagining care homes: can the COVID-19 pandemic act as a catalyst for enhancing staff status and education? Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1321

Published online: 19 May 2021

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