Published in Evening Standard, Telegraph, DailyMail, LBC
The weekly testing rate of care home residents has been broadly unchanged at around 30% throughout the summer
The good news is that we have no evidence yet of a rise in infections in care homes mirroring that seen in the wider community in many areas of the UK – we assume that the steady 2% infection rate does not conceal any change in testing patterns by homes
Despite a summer of testing, roughly a fifth of residents (22%) have not been tested since the end of May when the government pledged to have a more thorough Covid-19 testing regime in elderly care homes in England
Care homes need access to test kits but also stronger and more consistent local guidance if they are to achieve universal testing
Just 5% of care homes have not had any residents tested at any stage
If quoting this data please note: This new research comes from The Data Analysis Bureau and is based on anonymised data from Person Centred Software, one of the leading suppliers of near real time management information systems to the care home sector.
This analysis is conducted by The Data Analysis Bureau (T-DAB) based on anonymised data from Person Centred Software. It can be updated daily and includes data on testing for carers in the residential setting, and residents. Updates, interactive dashboards, and additional data can be found here.
Until universal and frequently repeated testing of staff becomes policy care home residents remain at risk. The rate of testing rose sharply into June as the government sent roughly 1 million test kits to care homes but a larger and more managed scheme is needed now. The many links in the chain of testing have left care home staff having to deal with local public health officials, the NHS, a website and test centres, with the result that testing rates are still too low.
The government’s test and track initiative is struggling and mixed messages have been received by care homes about the effectiveness of testing. As barely half of residents have been tested in the last month it is clear that more than making test kits available is required to provide care homes with the support and guidance they need.
The dataset that Person Centred Software have is incredibly rich and provides a level of detail that does not exist in public health organisations’ own reporting systems. It is collected digitally and in real time, offering an insight view not available to the CQC and ONS. The analytics that can be offered for monitoring and prediction of trends, would provide a vital tool in closely coordinating the response to Covid-19 in care homes, particularly in anticipation of a possible second wave.
T-DAB is a London-based data science, data analytics, and data engineering innovation agency specialising in delivering cutting edge data analytics and machine learning driven applications, helping clients to understand their data and discover new insights. T-DAB collaborates extensively with both private and academic partners. T-DAB is driven to further the use of data and AI for good.
Person Centred Software is one of the leading suppliers of near real time management information systems to the care home sector. Its digital point of care recording system is used for 50,000 service users across more than 2,000 care providers in the UK. There is an average of 50 care actions recorded per service user per day (2.7 million records a day), which evidence the detail of the care people receive. Person Centred Software’s digital care system, Mobile Care Monitoring, reduces paperwork and gives carers more time to care. Person Centred Software’s philosophy is person-centred; providing benefits to everyone involved in care by delivering exceptional tools.