Families not told of Covid ‘do not attempt CPR’ care home notices, Inquiry told

The families of care home residents were not told their relatives had ‘do not attempt CPR’ notices in place during Covid, the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry has heard.

Giving evidence yesterday, Sarah Ford, GP and member of Care Home Relatives Scotland, said the practice of informing residents about the issuance of DNA CPR notices was often dropped during the pandemic.

“Because of Covid, and the neglect of family involvement, very often DNA CPR conversations were not taking place with the family and they were shocked to find out they had been put in place,” Ford said.

A CQC investigation in March 2021 found blanket orders were in place not to resuscitate some care home residents at the start of the Covid pandemic.

The report showed a significant increase in DNACPRs put in care homes at the beginning of the pandemic, from 16,876 to 26,555, with over 119 adult social care providers reporting they had been subjected to blanket DNACPR decisions.

Ford, whose father died in a care home during the pandemic, said his health deteriorated because of being isolated.

“Dementia in patients was accelerated due to the isolation and I saw this first-hand with my dad and other residents who I was visiting,” Ford said.

“Residents were lost and unsettled, the atmosphere was bleak and desolate.

“Residents were barrier-nursed in rooms with an infection control station outside.”

Helen Wildbore, director of Care Rights UK, told Caring Times: “Sadly, we heard similar concerns about inappropriate use of do not attempt CPR decisions during the pandemic, including lack of consultation.

“This left people in already vulnerable situations feeling even more vulnerable, marginalised and powerless. It caused distress and anxiety and sent the message that the lives of older and disabled people were less valued.”

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