Saturday, January 16, 2021

The result we didn't want....

On Monday morning a member of staff tested positive when they were tested with the daily Lateral Flow Test.  They were immediately sent home with a confirmatory PCR Test, that subsequently confirmed the positive result.  

It was what we had feared for the last 10 months; our first positive test.  The staff member is asymptomatic and took no risks, she did everything right.  She feels dreadful, when she has done nothing wrong, but being a carer by nature means that her thoughts are of the residents and other staff.

We had planned for this, the next steps have been ingrained for months.  We were ready.  Enhanced Infection Protection Control protocols were implemented, residents were quarantined, in their rooms or in the public areas for those who would not understand the restrictions.  We started testing daily.    All residents were tested.  Alongside that we reassured residents and staff and communicated with families.  Health Protection team were notified.

It is now Friday, all of the test results are back, all of the residents are negative, but we remain in a quarantine situation.  All staff results have been negative.  But we are clear the risk remains, but there were no PPE breaches, so we are hoping that the one positive result was an isolated case.  

All week I have heard of care home after care home suffering outbreaks.  The situation is bleak across the care home community.  

On Wednesday I received the call I had been waiting for - vaccines should be coming at the weekend for residents and staff.  I did not tell the staff, I knew they desperately wanted the news, but I could not risk them being disappointed.  I was right to be cautious, I was then phoned yesterday afternoon after spending all day trying to speak to someone who could confirm we would indeed be vaccinated, to be told that actually we would not be vaccinated this weekend, but hopefully at the end of next week.

In recent months we have been lead to believe by the Government that Care Homes would be the at the forefront of the vaccine program.

In the last month we have seen exponential growth in the virus spreading through the community and we are now constantly hearing of more and more cases in the Care Home community, infact I currently do not know of any local care home which does not have an outbreak.  

There seems to be no consistency in the roll out of the vaccines across care homes, some care homes received vaccinations in December, we are still waiting.

I applaud everyone who receives a vaccine in these terrible times, but was under the impression they would receive their vaccine after the Care Home community.   

As each day passes we are bombarded of images of individuals in the community receiving vaccinations, but the care home roll out of vaccinations has been inconsistent and communication has been too generic regarding timelines.   This situation is a ticking time bomb and yet again I fear that care homes will be let down.   Only last night Boris Johnson announced, proudly, that 40% of care homes have been vaccinated with 45% of over 80's.  I was surprised that this was not higher.

Earlier today I received a letter from our Council and NHS Trust requesting urgently placements for hospital discharges at hugely inflated rates (more than £300 per week than we currently charge a week).  It feels rather like March again, when covid positive discharges were made to care homes.  

This time we totally appreciate the immense pressure that the NHS are under and will do all we can to support the NHS, but it is clear we can not assist in anyway until we have clear direction on when vaccinations for all staff and residents will be in place as promised.    

Sadly I fear that some homes may not have the luxury of being able to turn down these placements, they have wages to pay, businesses to keep a float.    

I made a commitment to all staff, residents and their families I will do all I can to keep them safe.  This I will continue to do.    I do not know what the solution is to discharging people from hospital, but I do not believe that care homes should have pressure put on them to take unsafe discharges.

In the meantime, we will keep our residents safe, happy and loved.  A few days ago I was with a resident in her bedroom, I asked her if she was bored and struggling with being in her room "To be honest she replied, its rather nice to be not quite sooo busy, I'm perfectly content"

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