Coronavirus: Care homes introducing new measures to stem infection rates
Halting the devastating infection rates within the city care homes is a top a priority for city council health teams.
That was the message from Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald addressing his fellow Cabinet members at an online meeting this week.
Cllr Fitzgerald said: “A lot of public interest has quite rightly been focused on the devastating rates of infection within our care homes.
“What are we practically doing today, different to what we were doing say eight weeks ago, to ensure that we don’t discharge patients recovering from coronavirus back into the care home community?” Executive Director for People and Communities, Wendi Ogle-Welbourn said: “Within our care homes we are now working as a system to make sure that we have appropriate infection control in place in all the care homes. “Where care homes are struggling, usually because they have a shortage of staff due to them having contracted coronavirus, we are ‘wrapping’ staff of our own around those care homes to provide them with additional capacity “In terms of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), we must be clear that all of our care homes are independent and therefore have always had to source PPE on their own and pay for it.
“However, where they haven’t been able to do so – and yes, there have been cases where some of our care homes have reported shortages of PPE – then the Local Authority has provided emergency PPE for them. “This system was put in place well before the Local Resilience Forum had the central hub in operation to co-ordinate all of what it does now.
“Now there is a central hub for PPE and care homes can contact the hub and ask for emergency supplies as long as they have less than seven days PPE within their stock. “This will now go a long way towards fighting the levels of infection in our care homes that we have all been hearing about in the media. “Bringing down the levels of infection in care homes is the priority at the moment, and we are succeeding in doing this as best as we can – but it must be remembered that for some discharge patients recovering from coronavirus, the care home IS their home.
“Some of the larger homes have been able to create within their property an isolated area specifically for coronavirus recoverees; but that’s no the case in the smaller homes. “In those circumstances, the patient is assessed very carefully before being discharged from hospital, they are given their COVID-19 Recovery Plan and this is passed on to the care home who may choose to isolate them in the best way that they can.
“What we don’t want is those patients recovering from coronavirus to be infected again by others in their specific care community; and likewise, we don’t want recovering patients to be discharged too soon and infect healthy persons living at their care home environment.”