- 04 March 2021
- 3 min read
Care And Community Nursing Facing Huge Post-Pandemic ShortagesSubscribe To Advice
Care Homes and Community Nursing could face crippling staff shortages as the pandemic recedes, with tens of thousands of Covid survivors needing long-term, daily care and support.
The Next Pandemic
The support required for community care will be complex and demanding, and will require large investment, a new recruitment strategy and focused training. But as yet, there is very little sign that any planning is in place.
Some are viewing this situation as ‘the next pandemic’ – and this is why…
As many as 100,000 intensive care patients, including around 15,000 Covid-19 survivors, will require community support once discharged.
But that’s not including an unknown number of Covid patients from the 350,000 treated on general wards since March 2020.
Then there’s the thousands of Covid survivors who never went to hospital but require long-term community care too.
NHS community services have already reported huge increases in demand, with some reporting a 50% increase in referrals and many staff working longer shifts.
This represents an enormous challenge for Care Home and community Nursing numbers – especially given how overstretched those services already were.
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Over-Stretching The Overstretched
The number of District Nurses working in people’s homes and leading community teams had already fallen from just over 7,000 to a little over 4,000 in the 10 years to 2019.
Care Homes, meanwhile, have been recognised as one of the three sectors worst affected by staff shortages during the pandemic.
On any given day, Skills for Care suggests the sector needs to fill around 112,000 vacancies.
The number of Registered Nurses working in Care Homes has consistently decreased over recent years.
Between 2019 and 2020 the number of Nurses in Care Homes reduced by 7%, or 2800, and by 30%, or 15,500, since 2013.
Furthermore, the current vacancy rate stands at more than 12%.
All of these statistics make for grim reading – and are a vital reminder that community and Care Home Nursing shortages aren’t given enough attention.
Hospital Nursing is on the public’s radar – and as a result, politicians’ radar too. But the vital work that community and Care Home Nurses do has been described as ‘invisible’ – and badly in need of exposure.
We frequently hear about the 40,000 Nursing vacancies in the NHS and the staffing crisis for Nurses, but the subtext always relates to hospitals.
Community and Care Home Nursing needs to join the conversation.