In this week’s update to residents and families, I am deeply sad to report a further death of a resident after they had tested positive for COVID-19.
Our deepest sympathies go out to their loved ones at this extremely distressing time and we continue to remember the other victims of this terrible disease.
But we have not seen any new cases of COVID-19 among residents this week. We continue to do everything we can to prevent the transmission of the disease. We work closely with Public Health England and infection control teams at the hospital to ensure we operate to the highest standards.
Today, the Office of National Statistics announced that there have been 8,314 deaths in care homes across the UK.
This shocking death toll shows how we are part of a national crisis.
We have made much of the poor support from Sheffield City Council, but the problem is broader.
Care homes across the country, which act as an extension of the NHS and provide valuable community care, face a “three-wave tsunami” that could destroy the sector.
Calculations, based on Palms Row Health Care’s additional costs for COVID-19 in the first month it has tackled the virus, indicate that the sector is spending an additional GBP38.6m a week in tackling the pandemic and caring for residents.
While care homes are fighting for residents’ lives, we are being abandoned by the authorities who have for too long seen us as a Cinderella service.
Councils are telling us they don’t have the funding to pass on the money needed to fight coronavirus. Providers are warning that unless beds are guaranteed in the medium-term we may see care homes close or have to lay off the staff that have shown such dedicated service during this national crisis.
All in all, the blame must lay at the Government’s door. They have delayed their Green Paper on Social Care on countless occasions since 2017 and are still not recommending local authorities pass on the amount needed to cover the crisis. It’s come down to this; providers need uplifts of at least 15% or they will close.
We have been operating in the dark without a long-term strategy in place. Care homes provide a vital national service and instead of being fully resourced we are facing a three-wave tsunami which could destroy the sector.
We feel there have been failings of central and local government in relation to COVID-19 and care homes across the country. We should have been afforded the focus, support and protection like the NHS. Sadly, care homes have taken the full force of the impact of this pandemic because of government policy and this could yet get worse.
A full review of funding for our sector has been long overdue and is needed more than ever now. Our sector has supported the most vulnerable during this pandemic it is tragic that providers are now facing a cliff edge and may close.
You can find out more about this campaign by keeping an eye on our website for the latest news.
Finally, just a reminder that to help families get a sense of what’s going on, we’ve increased the number of posts on our Facebook page to give you a glimpse of how we are trying to support our residents and make their lives as comfortable as possible.
In the last week we marked VE Day and we also had plenty of cakes delivered from friends and family to help keep the spirits up. We also had news that the Duchess of Cambridge was so inspired by an image from our homes that she has launched a new exhibition to capture what happened during the epidemic.
We are doing all we can to keep the spirits, morale and safety within our homes to the best of our ability. We cannot express in words the support of the teams, community and families during this time it really means so much to us. We will personally thank them all individually when we are not so busy but you all be remembered for what you have done.
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.