Communal care homes keeping staff and residents Covid-free

'Very small number of cases' at Jewish Care homes; Nightingale and The Fed say they are virus-free, despite a national spike within the sector


Major communal welfare providers say their residential homes are free of coronavirus — or have only limited cases — amid evidence of a national spike within the sector.

It was reported at the weekend that the rate of the virus recorded through satellite tests — almost all of which take place in care homes — had quadrupled since the start of the month. Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to care home leaders, noting that although infections were mainly among the workforce, residents had also been infected.

Although Jewish Care reported “a very small number of isolated cases” at its establishments, leaders of Nightingale House in Clapham and The Fed in Manchester told the JC that there had been no recent cases.

Jewish Care chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said that “with regular testing of staff and residents, we have seen a very small number of isolated cases of coronavirus in some of our care homes. Nearly all of these cases have been asymptomatic.

“Where a resident has tested positive, we ensure that all necessary precautions are taken, to the best of our ability, to prevent further transmission. We continue to test our residents every 28 days and staff every seven days.”

The charity was also continuing to invest in PPE, “adding to the 1,750,000 items we have already procured”.

Nightingale Hammerson CEO Helen Simmons said there had been no recent virus cases among residents or the workforce at the South London home.

“Everyone is pulling together to ensure residents and staff are kept safe with respect to infection control. This is closely monitored by our director of care and his dedicated team. Staff are tested weekly and residents monthly. “

She added that during the pandemic, Nightingale’s “wonderful activities team” had kept residents engaged and entertained.

“We have welcomed family visits, albeit with strict guidelines in place. With careful risk management, we have arranged safe trips to outdoor locations, which have been invaluable to our more mobile residents.”

One resident had even decided that she wanted to do a charity skydive. “We will see what we can do to support her wishes,” Ms Simmons said.

At The Fed’s Heathlands complex, CEO Mark Cunningham reported: “We are currently virus-free on site and have been throughout most of June, and for all of July and August.”

The local lockdown in Greater Manchester had helped, “effectively putting a stop to our visiting regime in July and reinforcing the need to maintain appropriate infection control measures.

“This has been extremely hard for our residents and their relatives and it has been difficult to find a balance between protecting people from the risk of the virus and the impact of enforced separation from their loved ones.

“Most Greater Manchester areas are now in the ‘red zone’ when it comes to infection and we are extremely vigilant and proactive when it comes to minimising the risk, which will now undoubtedly come from either visitors or our workforce. We have started swabbing all staff and residents as part of our efforts to keep our residents and employees safe.”

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