The UK’s rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout has meant that the majority of people aged over 80, and a large number of over-70s, have now been vaccinated against the virus. This is very welcome news.
On 1st February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that ‘virtually all’ elderly care home residents had now been offered the vaccine. This is with the exception of a few whose visits had been deferred for safety reasons due to a local outbreak.
However, data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has shown that infection rates among the elderly remain high. This is particularly true of the oldest group, those aged 85 and over. The number of suspected outbreaks in individual care homes also reached a second wave record in January. This was despite the best efforts of all concerned to get the most vulnerable members of society vaccinated quickly.
Sadly, the number of deaths in private homes has also risen, suggesting many elderly people are suffering alone at home, without seeking diagnosis or treatment.
Why are older people not seeking help?
There could be any number of reasons why elderly people living alone are not asking for help when they feel unwell. One explanation is that getting to a GP or COVID-19 testing centre to have symptoms checked can be very difficult if you have mobility problems.
Many elderly people don’t have access to a vehicle, and the idea of using public transport during a pandemic can be frightening. Social care services are short staffed. And many carers don’t want to put themselves at higher risk by coming into close contact with a suspected case of coronavirus.
What to do if you need help
If you or an elderly person that you know has COVID-19 symptoms, The Mayfair GP can help.
We are very happy to perform home visits. To give you peace of mind, we can come and carry out a COVID-19 test at a convenient time. Your sample will be couriered to the lab, to get the result comes through as quickly as possible. In the meanwhile, we will treat your symptoms to make you more comfortable.
Should you need treatment beyond what we can offer, we can arrange referrals and transport to hospital.
Experts in elderly care
Even if you aren’t displaying symptoms of COVID-19, if you are an elderly person there is a high chance that the pandemic is having an impact on your healthcare needs.
At The Mayfair GP, we are highly experienced in caring for our elderly patients. We can help with management of long-term illness as well as treating acute problems. We offer regular reviews and routine recalls, ensuring your blood tests and other checks are all up to date.
You can contact us by phone, at any time of day or night. We can even come to you, and can organise your medicines to be delivered. You don’t have to leave the comfort of home.