Social Insurance Board (Sotsiaalkindlustusamet / SKA) believes care homes are ready and prepared for the potential second wave of coronavirus (COVID-19) which is expected to hit later this year.
According to the Estonian Government, the 1+1 rule of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be followed in the autumn. This means one month's supply must be available to institutions, such as care homes and hospitals. The other month must be supplied by the state if necessary.
Raivo Sults, head of the Quality Department of SKA, believes the personal protective equipment in the care home is stocked for a month. He added: "We haven't researched and asked every nursing home but I believe all of them have the PPE."
Sults said: "The main difficulties during the emergency situation were the funds were not available and the issue did not state in that the care homes did not want to procure or they considered themselves financially too burdensome. They are now available on the market. Approximately 10 care homes have been asked about it and there is no question about it that they think it is important and necessary to own the personal protective equipment."
Sults cannot say the exact answer as to whether all 187 general care homes in Estonia have enough staff members.
He explained: "There are certain care homes where there is no concern for staff and replacements are well thought out. However, there are probably care homes where it is not so well thought out and the number of staff members can be in a little more critical situation. In fact, it is the responsibility of the care home manager and owner to organize the work in such a way that a critical number of employees exist, regardless of whether there is a virus or some other unforeseen circumstance that takes people away from work."
According to Sults, during the coronavirus crisis, the involvement of infection commissioners, who helped to increase the ability to use funds in care homes, was also a good initiative.
An infection commissioner is a person with a medical background who advises nursing homes on virus prevention and the use of personal protective equipment.
Sults said: "It was very important to raise the awareness of care homes or the people who work there. If you do not have a medical background and you do not come into contact with such things every day, awareness is a weak point. Today, in fact, nursing homes are very happy to welcome new staff members."
Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein