"Care for the elderly must be a priority as we move on from Covid"

  Posted: 10.02.21 at 11:45 by The Editor

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Occasional Thurrock Nub News contributor Mico Bienvenu, a vastly experienced professional in the care sector, examines the impact of Covid-19 and asks ‘What is the way forward and what can we learn from this awful and life changing experience?’

The COVID 19 Pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the social care system for older people.
Is it time now to review how we, as a nation, deliver social care for the elderly?

As we reflect on last year’s experience, can it also be argued that economies of scale are preoccupied with the creation of wealth rather than caring for the health of a nation and indeed played a crucial role in facilitating the easy spreading of this virus?

Economies of scales are cost advantages that can occur when a company increases their scale of their production/ operation and becoming more efficient, thereby decreasing unit costs.

This is because the operating costs (including fixed and variable costs) are spread over more units of operation. In other words, more units of a (so called) good service can be operated on a larger scale.

Let’s begin by defining efficiency and effectiveness in general terms.

Efficiency means performance. The best performance with the least waste of time and effort.
Effective means adequate enough to accomplish a purpose with operations to achieve the intended or expected result or outcome.

The difference between effectiveness and efficiency can be summed up as follows. Being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right.

Over the recent years, the emphasis on operating Care Homes has been for larger institutions, with the concept of delivering economy of scale rather than promoting the effective, more personal care provisions in smaller care home units for senior living.

With limited social distancing and large numbers of people living and working in, sometimes, restricted facilities, Care Homes are an ideal hub for any infection or virus to spread rapidly and indiscriminately?

Therefore, how are we able to control and eliminate infection when we inadvertently promote and provide the ideal environment for its spreading?

Viruses always look for hosts to reproduce and survive. Therefore, this COVID 19 virus is able to manifest itself and quickly spread in hospitals and in larger care homes. It looks for the sick, the old, the frail and the vulnerable as suitable hosts which as we are only too well aware, potentially, can be fatal.

From the statistical data, this cruel virus has caused so much heartache to many families in our nation and worldwide.

What is the way forward and what can we learn from this awful and life changing experience?
Perhaps, now is the perfect time, and opportunity to promote smaller socially distanced care homes specialised, in acute local based units that are well led and provide effective care for the very sick elderly who may otherwise require medical or hospital assistance.

Looking at the deadly trajectory of COVID 19, we should ask ourselves if our purpose built large economy of scale institutions are now hosting and creating an environment for the spread of any infection or viruses.

Perhaps, this well meant efficient model is not effective in dealing with any epidemic or pandemic that may face our nation in the future.

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