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Care Home Owner Talks COVID19

One of the issues we are facing, as a care home in these unprecedented times is, we currently have available vacancies, which we could use to help relieve the stress on our local NHS Hospitals, as this could assist in freeing up space for them but we do not want to accept anyone without an up to date covid-19 test on the day of release, for obvious reasons. We have just had a care home call with a resident they described as having behavioural challenges, we of course understand that behaviour is a from of communication. Have they had any cases or could they have cases they are as yet unaware of? Do we accept new residents from anywhere at this time? Difficult decisions have to be made.

How can we say to family members not to come in and see their loved ones when we are being asked to accept Residents from hospitals etc that could be more infectious than the family member sat at home?

As a business owner we have to be a set of scales. On one half we have to keep the cash flow going for the staff and residents living in the home and on the other side we have to protect the staff and Residents.

Care homes need the Resident coming into the home, tested, in order to keep the business running and to protect the staff and residents already living and working within our care setting.

PPE is not getting to us and we are having to make do with supplies we already had. Back in January we predicted this could escalate and ordered over 500 masks from Amazon. To date these masks still have not arrived so people ordering now have no chance. Our own PPE is reducing quickly and we are all concerned it could run out at the peak of this Pandemic.

We are still waiting for the Government drop off of promised PPE.

So far we have had one case of Covid-19 in the home. It was a gentlemen that went into hospital 2 weeks ago for a few hours and then returned the same day without a covid-19 check. 10 days after he returned from hospital he showed symptoms and went back into hospital and tested positive and sadly passed away a few days later, our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

We as a care home have very high standards as all care homes do when it comes to infection control. To be honest I think care homes are probably the best place to be when it comes to safety and Infection control but it is essential the Care Manager protects those living there.

The Registered Manager has to make decisions based on business and care and in these difficult times they are decisions of life and death.

One wrong decision can mean the virus rips through a care home.

We are getting calls from hospitals asking if we will accept residents with Covid-19….. ..unfortunatley most care homes do not have the facilities to segregate on different levels and quarantine.

The other problem we have is that people living with dementia like routine and cannot be told to stay in their rooms. If one of these residents gets the virus they will be walking around the home spreading it. We can all up our infection control regime but the risks of others getting the virus are very high.

Care homes are not getting the recognition in the news and we all need support.

Over the last few weeks my wife and I have had to put ourselves at risk and go to different shops to collect food for our care home as even with ID they are saying only 2 items per customer.

Thankfully as of this week the shelves are starting to fill up and the panic buyers are stopping however Ordering on line as we normally do for our care home, is impossible still through all large supermarkets.

A local Sainbury’s has stepped in and is assisting us with our necessary food supplies for our residents and for this we are most grateful as we need to buy in bulk.

All the care homes I have seen on the TV have been elderly residents who understand what is going on and seeing their loved ones through a window.

Residents living with a dementia are totally different, they are individual and some may not understand social distancing, even with support.

Most of our Residents living with a

dementia could be more upset by being able to see a loved one through a window and not understand why they cannot speak to them and hug them as they normally would. This could increase anxiety and frustration and cause behavioural challenges.

We have had to cancel the hairdresser, the entertainment staff and much much more which puts more pressure on our care staff. Small businesses like these have closed leaving us all to fend for ourselves.

We are also trying to reduce the amount of ambulance call outs by using CCTV. This allows us to rewind the camera and see the unwitnessed fall for ourselves and stop the 999 call going out and the Resident going into hospital just to be returned the same day after being checked over for a head injury.

I guess in a nut shell in order to assist the care homes which will in turn help out the hospitals, we need testing kits at the hospitals and in care homes so we can test and welcome them in knowing that all of the other Residents and care staff are safe.

We do not want to play Russian roulette with people’s lives.

We are all living in unprecedented times and we could not be prouder of our staff, our local doctors and nurses and the whole of the NHS including all Carers and Key workers all over the country keeping this great country running.

Andrew Geach

CEO Shedfield Lodge Care Home


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