COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on care homes, their residents and families and staff. Over 20,000 care home residents in England have died from COVID-19 to date, and many more have experienced distressing symptoms. Palliative care alleviates physical and psychological distress for people with serious illness and can improve bereavement outcomes for families. However, providing high-quality palliative and end-of-life care in care homes has been particularly challenging during COVID-19. This is because older people with COVID-19 can deteriorate rapidly and unpredictably, because wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) makes communication harder (especially for people with dementia), and because visiting restrictions worsen distress. In addition, care home staff faced challenges in accessing advice from healthcare teams and decision making. It is therefore important to understand the provision of palliative and end-of-life care in care homes during the pandemic.
This CovPall Care Homes project aims to increase understanding of the response to the pandemic by care homes to make recommendations to key decision-makers that will improve care.