The pandemic has shed harsh light on the need for a live minimum dataset. Residents of care homes are centre stage in the covid-19 pandemic for all the wrong reasons. Home to vulnerable people with complex needs, these settings should have been an obvious focus and priority in pandemic planning. Almost half of newly admitted residents in the UK are transferred from hospitals, creating a resident population with wide ranging needs spread across 450 000 beds in almost 11 000 homes. This is more than double the number of beds in NHS hospitals, but unlike NHS facilities most homes are privately owned, with residents responsible for some or all of the costs of their care. Yet as covid-19 spread across the UK, minutes suggest that the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) discussed care homes only twice in the first five months of 2020.
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