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COVID-19: Care At Home

27th March 2020

NHS Highland (Highland Council area) Adult Social Care supports approximately 6000 people in the community. This community will be largely the most vulnerable community population when it comes to Covid-19.

It is anticipated that delivery of care for our most vulnerable people, throughout Highland, Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, will be required to stretch further and we therefore need to ensure that available care packages are focussed on those who need it most.

The NHS is working to provide the best service with the resource that we have, while also anticipating that with people being ill need will increase and availability will reduce. Concurrently there will be a strain on the workforce as has been evidenced across the world.

We are managing a period of unprecedented challenge across health and social care and with increasing levels of need and reduced availability of carers due to illness how we manage Care at Home is going to have to change.

Care needs are likely going to increase amongst our population, not just for those who are in receipt of packages, but for those who will become vulnerable as a result of COVID-19. Couple that with the likely scenario that carers are also going to become unwell we are facing what will be an extraordinary demand on health and social care service provision and difficult decisions will have to be made.

The care we have is going to have to stretch further to ensure that those who need it most get it. That may mean phased implementation of packages, less visits, shorter visits, minimal choice around visit timings and activities. It will also mean that our normal ability to accommodate peoples' individual choices and aspirations severely limited.

We are working with our partners in the Highland Council, the independent sector, voluntary sector and the Third Sector but we will also need families to work with us around this. Whilst we are attempting to avoid disruption, it is to be expected that people may have to cope with less care to allow need to be met.

The partnership is simultaneously working with the British Red Cross to support with the coordination of the largescale offers of volunteering and goodwill gestures to ensure that it is managed properly and safely.

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