Care home CEO calls for more support as eight residents die from coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:53 16 April 2020
More needs to be done to avert an “emerging crisis in social care” says the CEO of a Norfolk care home provider, as it emerged eight residents in two of its homes have died after testing positive for coronavirus.
Daya Thayan, CEO of Kingsley Healthcare, which is based in Lowestoft, has written a letter to the government urging for more support for the social care sector, which he says is struggling to cope.
The care provider is facing outbreaks of the virus in six of its 30 homes across the country, including two in Norfolk and three in Ipswich.
In his letter Mr Thayan wrote: “It is my belief, that for generations to come, we will be judged on how we addressed the issues that faced us and how we led through this pandemic those that depended upon us.
“Covid-19 is particularly dangerous to our residents and my staff are doing all they can to prepare for the inevitable outbreaks at our homes.
“We have to date received limited support to supplement our existing privately procured supplies of PPE and others.
“It is vital the Government states precisely how it intends to keep care home residents and staff safe and when we a comprehensive measures for the sector.”
The group confirmed three residents at Downham Grange in King’s Lynn, and five at Thorpe House in Griston, near Watton, had died.
The Griston care home was the first to record an outbreak and at Downham Grange, a further four residents are currently in hospital, three having tested positive and the fourth showing symptoms.
The spokesman said; “No further residents in the home have developed symptoms but everyone is being kept in isolation as a precaution.
“Staff in the home are adhering strictly to government guidelines, wearing masks at all times and using full personal protective equipment in the case of residents showing symptoms.”
The care provider said contingency plans and strict control measures were in place to minimise risk to residents and staff.
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Following the outbreaks, Mr Thayan has demanded proper recognition of the adult social care sector with staff being designated as key workers to make available to the same benefits being seen in the NHS.
In his letter, he highlights the size of the social care sector, which employs 1.6m people and cares for more than 400,000 elderly and disabled people in 11,300 care homes.
And he calls for immediate engagement between the government and social care leaders regarding support for the sector to avert an “emerging crisis in social care”
He said: “It has been rightly stated the NHS will get whatever resources it needs to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This offer must now be extended to include social care which demands a much greater priority and focus than it has had to date.”
He urged further support to provide or subsidise the cost of PPE equipment for homes and temporary accommodation for staff having to move between homes to cover for colleagues “shielding” from the virus
Mr Thayan stressed that Kingsley was doing everything it could to support staff, including the advancement of salary pay dates to allow staff to shop promptly for essential items and the monthly distribution of provisions.
He said: “This has been the most difficult and unprecedented time for everyone but we all will come out to be kinder and more helpful as individuals and communities.”
At Wednesday’s press conference, Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for health and social care, said a supply network of “unprecedented scale” would help get personal protective equipment to care home staff.
And he announced a new “single brand” with a badge for care workers, which he said may help them access similar perks to NHS staff.
“This badge will be a badge of honour in a very real sense, allowing social care staff proudly and publicly to identify themselves, just like NHS staff do with that famous blue and white logo.
“I know that many businesses will want to offer the same recognition and benefits as they do wonderfully to the NHS.”
Supermarkets had been asked to give the same priority access to care workers as NHS staff, he said.
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