Nicola Richards, Director of Palms Row Health Care (PRHC) which operates three nursing homes in Sheffield, has voiced her distress at today’s figures showing deaths from COVID-19 in care homes throughout the country.
Today’s Office for National Statistics figures show there were 2,053 coronavirus care home deaths in England and Wales in the week ending 17 April. This brings the total to 3,096.
At Palms Row Health Care, 18 residents have sadly died after testing positive for COVID-19 since thepandemic started. 60 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. 36 colleagues have also tested positive, with another 31 self-isolating.
Ms Richards said:
“My thoughts and sympathies go to all families affected by this horrendous disease.
“I know that care home staff across the country are working tirelessly to care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and they will be heartbroken by the deaths of each and every person who dies in their care.
“Locally we are now managing the situation at Palms Row Health Care properties with just one additional case reported in the past seven days. This is due to infection control measures as well as the fact that the virus hit our care homes earlier than many others.”
Ms Richards added that support from Sheffield County Council has improved slightly, but there are outstanding concerns in terms of funding both in the immediate and longer term.
“Our Local Authority still hasn’t passed on the recommended 15% uplift in finances to care homes following emergency government funding to help meet the costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“All we have are assurances that additional costs will be met, but without guarantees we are working blind. For five weeks we have fought outbreaks in two of our homes, we have had to deliver care and support our teams in the safest way possible with no additional funding. The care sector was woefully underfunded in Sheffield before COVID-19 hit. This has put further pressure on a Cinderella sector.
“We’re managing the situation but only thanks to the tireless hard work of our staff, many of whom have been working 12 hour shifts for weeks. We are also grateful to the local community who have helped us through the last few weeks. Many care home providers are supporting each other locally and nationally, it really has been touching to see how we have all pulled together.
“Given the threat of a second spike in cases later in the year, I share the increasing concerns of the care home sector that our mid-to-long term funding is not secure and the authorities are not learning the lessons of the first wave.”
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 The 15% increase in funding is recommended by Care England. For more information on the financial situation of care homes in Sheffield, please visit https://www.palmsrow.co.uk/single-post/2020/04/15/CARE-HOMES-HIT-BY-SHOCK-CUT-IN-FUNDING