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An update on COVID-19 to residents and families

A lot happens in a week on the front line in the fight against COVID-19

Firstly, I wanted to give all families and residents an update on how COVID-19 is affecting us.

We are desperately sad to confirm that 11 of our residents have now died after testing positive for COVID-19 across our three sites. Our deepest sympathies go out to their loved ones at this extremely distressing time.

We also have one member of our staff in hospital and others off ill with symptoms or isolating themselves as they have underlying conditions. Our thoughts are also with them and their families.

The effects of this virus on our community and our care homes is truly devastating and our carers and wider staff teams are heartbroken. They will continue to work tirelessly to protect and care for a group of people who are among the most frail and vulnerable in our society.

We will carry on working closely with our local NHS Trust and wider networks to do everything we can to fight for the lives of every resident in our care.

The hideously aggressive nature of this disease is clear for all to see. And words do not do justice to the thanks and gratitude I have for the amazing staff across Palms Row homes. They are genuine heroes.

And I know they – as I – want to thank families and residents for their kind words in emails, phone calls and on social media. It really does make a huge difference.

You may have seen some of our staff on Sky News, the BBC, Good Morning Britain and ITV National News in recent days (we're sharing links on our Facebook page). The journalist from Sky News even asked a question to the daily press conference at 10 Downing Street based on his experiences speaking to staff and residents.

To be honest, this is not a position we wanted to be in, but we felt we needed to speak out and protect our elderly.

Our residents, their families and our amazing staff deserve better in this time of crisis.

Care homes across the country are fighting for residents’ lives like never before. Words cannot describe how difficult the conditions are on the front line, many operate as an extension of the hospital system without adequate support.

We need improved PPE supplies, access to testing, support for fast recruitment of staff and volunteers, simplification of communication from national/local government bodies as well as financial and moral support from local authorities.

I have written to council leaders, MPs and leading politicians to set out what we need. From Sheffield City Council we urgently need the following:

- Urgent financial payment from the Council to support emergency costs and passing on Care England’s recommended 15% uplift in fees to cover COVID-19 related costs.

- Ability to offer pay incentives and support to permanent staff throughout this period.

- Ability to cover staff reductions with agency usage.

- Assistance with recruitment of staff and volunteers.

- Co-ordination of distribution of PPE to care homes and swab testing kits.

- Guidance on reduced bureaucracy and administration to allow frontline staff to deliver hands on care.

- Assistance with communications and IT during lockdown of homes and staff shortages.

Palms Row will provide all of the necessary support to make sure that ongoing care for residents continues in the same high standards that we have provided for many years, but we will also continue to put pressure on those who make the decisions not to forget about care homes during this crisis.

Nicola Richards,


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