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Supporting care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Care home staff and residents are facing a particularly challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic, caring for a vulnerable population with limited clinical support available and a reduced workforce.

UCLPartners is offering support to care homes focussing on:

  • Preventing dehydration – which can be a major cause of admittance to hospital.
  • Assessing deterioration – building on our work to date using Significant Care, Feebris (enabling remote clinical monitoring) and other tools.
  • Medicines safety – preventing administration errors by supporting care homes with safe administration from original packs.
  • End of life planning – using Coordinate My Care.

Preventing dehydration

Older people are particularly vulnerable to dehydration. Ensuring those living in care homes consume adequate amounts of fluid every day can be a challenge. Staying hydrated can help to boost the body’s immunity, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are supporting care homes to access innovations that can help provide solutions to this challenge.

Supporting implementation of the Water-Drop

We are working with Water-Drop, offering care homes initial free supplies.

Water-Drop is a one litre hydration system that attaches to somewhere around the hospital bed e.g. drawer handles. It works like an intravenous drip and is often used orally. It is a simple, low cost, single patient use, disposable product which fits in with the way the NHS and care homes work at an operational level.

Assessing deterioration

Significant Care

We are working with NELFT and Care City to share Significant Care, a free tool designed to help carers spot the early signs of deterioration in the health of those they care for and to make good decisions about what to do to help.

Virtual ward rounds – Feebris

The British Geriatrics Society recently published new guidelines that recommend observations are taken in care homes. At a time when GP resource is limited, virtual ward rounds can provide a method of clinically assessing patients remotely, using less GP time.

We are supporting care homes to set up virtual ward rounds and clinical assessments using digital tools such as Feebris – a platform that connects to a wide range of point-of-care devices (digital stethoscopes, wearables etc.) and uses algorithms to extract important clinical insights, fusing these together, resulting in actionable diagnostic outputs.

Care City – a healthcare Community Interest Company with a track record of integrating innovation into health and care settings, delivered in partnership with UCLPartners – has already been working with Feebris, with funding support from Barking, Havering & Redbridge (BHR) CCGs, to introduce its technology to thirteen care homes in BHR. Techforce19 has now announced it will fund the introduction of Feebris to another ten care homes across East London.  

Medicines safety

Guidance from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Specialist Pharmacy Service has called for the change of supply of medicines to original packs to be promoted as a standard, as a result of reported patient safety issues and lack of evidence of effectiveness.

As a result of this, community pharmacies are unlikely to continue offering an Medicines Dosage System (MDS) service to care homes in the longer term and this has been brought to the fore due to COVID pandemic.  Community pharmacies are under pressure, like the rest of the NHS, to continue delivering their normal services.

We are supporting care homes, initially in Barnet, with safe administration from original packs rather than MDS.

End of life care planning

Coordinate My Care

Coordinate My Care is a service that delivers integrated, coordinated and high quality medical care, built around each patient’s personal wishes.

We are supporting CCGs, care homes and GPs to create urgent care plans with patients in care homes and their families using Coordinate My Care. Practice nurses are also able to sign off urgent care plans. Our work will support them to do this in order to ease pressure on GPs at this time.

We’re also creating a series of resources for staff, care home residents and their family members that provide information on infection control, personal protective equipment and visiting. These resources are being developed in collaboration with North London Partners in Health and Care.

For more information on this work or to find out how to take advantage of the support on offer, please contact