A care home boss has explained to CHP how he took in COVID-19 positive patients as part of a national effort to ease strains on the NHS.
Managing director of the St Cecilia’s Care Group, Mike Padgham, said he had felt a “practical” and “moral duty” to help ease the strain on hospital services as well as provide stability for existing residents and staff.
Mike said: “This decision was not taken lightly and has been the cause of many sleepless nights. But in common with many care and nursing homes, from the outset we were urged and indeed obliged as part of a national effort to keep taking admissions so that hospitals did not become overwhelmed. So there was a practical and some would say moral duty to do our best to support the overall battle against coronavirus.
“At the same time, we have to stay in operation. As other admissions were falling and costs rising, there has been a real threat not just to our homes but to many others too. So we also had to take the hard decision, as many others have been forced to make too, that we would keep taking admissions, with or without a Covid-19 diagnosis, to ensure we stayed viable and protected the jobs of our staff.”
The managing director who is also chair of the Independent Care Group said occupancy at his four care homes had dropped to 75% from the historical level of 95%, adding he faced going out of business within two months if his beds were not refilled.
The 19 hospital patients, 11 of whom were COVID-19 positive and eight of whom were in recovery and were longer no positive, were admitted and isolated on the floor of one home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire where they have been strictly quarantined.
“Working with Public Health England and IPC we have made sure we were following the latest guidelines to ensure we provide the best care for those on the isolated floor, including a virtual walk round to ensure correct procedures were in place,” Mike said.
Staff caring for people on the isolated floor have been provided with a separate staff area and a rigorous cleaning regime has been maintained in all areas of the group’s homes.
Mike said the discharged hospital patients had not increased the number of other coronavirus cases in the home. The group has recorded four coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the lockdown on March 11 with a further seven suspected.
While admitting there had been “worries and concerns” from residents and relatives about the admissions, Mike said on the whole people at the home had been “patient, supportive and understanding”.
The news came as ITN News revealed that more than 25,000 people were discharged from hospital into care homes within a month without being routinely tested for COVID-19 in England with blanket testing of discharges only beginning on April 16.