THE level of support provided to the care sector by Lancashire County Council during the Coronavirus outbreak has been revealed for the first time.
It has 16 of its own care homes, but during the pandemic it has also been providing support to hundreds of private care homes to help keep them safe. Working on behalf of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, the authority has bought significant supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), including several plane loads from abroad. This has seen the distribution of around 1.8million individual items to the care sector, with at least 429 different providers requesting and receiving PPE. A daily call is also carried out to all 600 care providers to check on their situation, including gathering information about PPE and equipment supply, the mobilisation of infection, prevention and control support and staff shortages.
This information has proved to be a vital tool in preventing and managing the virus within care settings.
Since the outset of the pandemic the council has held weekly webinars with care providers to keep them updated on infection control information and Government guidance provided for the sector.
The sessions have created an opportunity for providers to ask questions, which are then shared via a website set up just for providers. A weekly newsletter is also produced to keep all providers up to date.
The council has also commissioned a service to provide trauma training and support for care home residents in recognition of the lasting trauma the pandemic will have.
And in conjunction with colleagues at Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen Councils, it is supporting the resilience forum's testing policy and procedures for care homes which are to be followed by all of their staff and residents.
A financial support scheme for providers was also quickly introduced as well as a policy to assist Direct Payment recipients.
Councillor Graham Gooch, Cabinet member for Adult services, said: "I am rightly proud of all the hard work which has been put in by the council to support care providers across the county at this really difficult time.
"Calling more than 600 care providers on a daily basis to check how they are managing is a huge undertaking, but something we have now been doing routinely for many weeks.
"We've also made sure that PPE has been made available where it is needed, and are now helping to ensure that staff and residents are being tested for this dreadful virus to stop its spread.
"I would personally like to thank all the care workers in Lancashire who day in and day out are looking after some of our most vulnerable residents, and keeping them safe."
Details of the work taking place in Lancashire have now been sent in a letter to the Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately MP, on behalf of the Lancashire Resilience Forum.
A copy of the adult social care plan for the county, which sets out all the arrangements that have been put in place to ensure vulnerable residents are protected and supported has also been submitted.