During the Covid-19 pandemic, family caregivers were marginalised and vulnerable older people were let down by the health system, a study has found.
The research analysed 2607 posts on forums for UK-based family caregivers between 15 March and 15 September 2020, and found that caregivers felt ‘powerless, voiceless and choiceless’ during the first six months of the pandemic. Incidents included the medical records of vulnerable older people being changed to ‘do not resuscitate’ without the family’s consent, and GPs pressurising older people to change their records.
The study author’s report makes several recommendations, including improving communication between the NHS and family caregivers, not closing complaints procedures, and reducing the stress of frontline NHS employees through reduced workloads, emotional support services and better PPE provision. It also recommends creating more cohesion between those who care for vulnerable elderly people across primary, secondary and health-based social services.
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