A Nottinghamshire care group has become the first in the UK to trial a new diagnostic machine that delivers COVID-19 results in 85 minutes.
Ashmere Nottinghamshire, which owns Sutton Lodge, Sutton Manor and Sutton Court in Sutton in Ashfield, has taken delivery of the machine and begun testing as part of the COVID-19 National DiagnOstic Research and Evaluation Platform (CONDOR) – funded by the National Institute for Health Research, UK Research and Innovation, Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation.
The group’s three care home managers, Emily Smith, Tracy Stubbs, Paula Jefford, quality manager Danielle Cotton and managing director Claire Sharpe have all trained in the technology and are using the machine to gather data during the trial which will run for one month and be fed back to the Department of Health and Social Care.
Claire told the Ashford Chad: “They wanted to trial new tests in settings where they would be used, in hospitals and care homes, so we put ourselves forward for the trial. It speeds up the whole COVID-19 testing process, bringing it down to 85 minutes, which potentially could help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and save lives.
“At the moment, it can take several days to get COVID test results back. When we do the throat and nasal swab test we have to do the test, then it has to go by courier, then in the lab, they have to run the test, then get the result back to us. By this time we would have had to isolate a resident, which can be very upsetting for them and their families. It’s just not nice. With this machine, we know within 85 minutes whether someone has got COVID-19.”
Ashmere sadly lost 15 residents at two of its care homes during the pandemic.
Claire said: “It was the most terrible time. We never want to go through that again. If the trials are successful the DHSC may be able to fund a machine for care homes.
“The machine took us a morning to learn, it’s was not exactly a walk in the park to use, but it is logical and usable by people like us, who are not scientists, or techy, but that was part of the trial, to try to understand if it was in a care home setting, would staff be able to use it.”
“We have always prided ourselves on being a leading light in elderly care so we are absolutely delighted to be trialling the new machine.”