A care home leader has warned the coronavirus is stretching care homes to breaking point as the death toll of residents mounted over the weekend.
Rachel Beckett, chairman of Wellburn Care Homes, which runs 14 homes across north-east England, said providers had found themselves at the “eye of a storm”, with the last month having been a “monumental challenge” and with the worst still come.
Rachel blasted guidance issued by the government and regulators as a “disgrace”, adding it lacked a “complete lack of real understanding and no attempt to understand what the care sector can or cannot do”. She said a feeling of “anger, disappointment and utter frustration” ran deep across the sector.
The Wellburn chairman echoed other care home providers by saying staff were running out of PPE supplies because they were being directed to the NHS. She said that while the majority of her “amazing staff” had stayed on during the outbreak some had walked out because of their lack of protection and others were isolating. The care leader added it was hard not to feel forgotten while plaudits were rained on the NHS.
Rachel also highlighted inadequate testing in care homes. She said homes with three or more cases were being limited to six tests, adding hospitals were refusing to admit people who had tested positive for the virus. Leading care home providers, Four Seasons, MHA and Colten Care, told the Daily Mail this weekend that none of their staff and residents had been tested. Alarm is growing, moreover, at the guidance being given to care homes regarding the treatment of residents with reports of families being pressured into signing Do Not Resuscitate orders.
Rachel’s revealing of the enormous challenges facing care home operators came as a growing tide of deaths were reported at services across the country.
The deaths of 13 residents at Four Seasons’ Burlington Court in Glasgow were linked with the virus with a number of fatalities also recorded at Summerhill Care Home in Kendall. Two residents at Newfield nursing home in Sheffield were also reported to have died from the virus, with a further six deaths at Oak Springs care home in Liverpool linked with COVID-19.