Admissions to care homes are influenced by national and local policy trends, which also have an impact on individual homes’ care planning policies.

The coronavirus emergency is currently affecting admission policies with procedures needed to assess and manage risks of possible infection where people are moving from their homes.

People referred from hospitals will be subject to the NHS Hospital Discharge Service arrangements. In addition to finding places for non-Covid-19 affected people who require residential or nursing home care, the discharge service seeks provision for people who have recovered or are recovering after testing positive for the coronavirus. There are specific admission procedures required for these people as set out in government guidance.

Currently in general, many people are moving into care homes at later stages of their lives, when their disabilities and impairments, notably dementia, and difficulties in obtaining suitable support combine to prevent their being able to keep safe in their own homes.

More people are being admitted directly from hospital, sometimes when they have not made a full recovery from any illness or condition that required their admission there and require further nursing or a high level of care. For people admitted from hospital, special care needs to be taken over infection control because of their possible exposure to such illnesses while in hospital, which could, if unchecked, spread into the home. Hence special precautions are needed at this particular time with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The lengths of time that people remain residents of care homes are on average becoming shorter. End-of-life care has thus become an increasing important area of care practice, particularly as a result of Covid-19. End-of-life planning will therefore need to be built into many new residents’ initial care plans.

This topic should be used in relation to Admissions: Care of New Service Users.

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