Another very difficult week for care home residents, staff and families.

This has been another very difficult week for care homes across Northern Ireland.  The figures released today by NISRA show that the deaths of people in care homes account for 269 (almost 45%) of all deaths recorded due to COVID-19. While the overall picture does seem to be a cause for some optimism, these figures are a stark reminder that much more needs to be done to address the acute health crisis in care homes now and in the longer term.

Linda Robinson, Age NI CEO said:

“Age NI is very mindful that behind these statistics are the lives of individuals who have been loved and cherished, and whose untimely deaths mean intense feelings of loss, pain and grief for families, other residents and staff. We offer our sincere condolences to everyone concerned.

We welcome the commitment made by Minister Swann to make care homes “an absolute priority” and to protect residents and support staff during the pandemic and beyond. We owe a great debt of gratitude to health and care staff who have continued to work in very difficult circumstances. We believe that the current arrangements for testing should be extended to residents and staff in all care homes.

The pandemic has shone a light, once again, on the historic underinvestment in social care, which supports older people and others to stay well and safe and in their community.  We are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to take decisive action now to allocate sufficient resources to transform social care and make it fit for purpose.  Older people want to be part of making the change.  Listening to what matters to them and to learn from their experiences is vital if we want to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for older people. Let’s place older people at the centre of decisions about their own lives.”    

Age NI’s advice lines are open and we have extended our services to provide additional support for older people. We encourage anyone who is concerned for an older friend or neighbour to call us on 0808 808 7575.

Read the NISRA bulletin

If you or an older person you know needs help and support call our advice line on FREEPHONE 0808 808 7575.