All staff and residents at a Cliftonville care home will be retested for Covid-19 following the deaths of 17 residents, attributed to the virus. It is understood this may now have risen to 18 losses.
Last week The Isle of Thanet News reported that a discussion by county councillors about protective personal equipment needs in Kent included details of the tragic death toll at Grosvenor Court in First Avenue.
The 62 bed residential home has staff trained in specialist needs, such as dementia care and learning disability, as well as sensory impairments and Parkinson’s. It falls in the Cliftonville West ward which has recorded the highest number of Covid-related deaths in Thanet with 13 registered up until April 17, far more than any other Thanet area.
In a message to Kent County Council Grosvenor Court owners Premiere Care Homes said in April ”things were really bad” and “at times we did not know where to turn” but guidance and support from the authority helping to source essential equipment had been beneficial.
Kent County Council delivered PPE including 3,000 surgical masks, 9,000 gloves, and 3,000 aprons, to the home on April 8.
Staff were tested for the virus, with completion on April 22. When the tests were undertaken there were four people suspected to have the virus. Results returned on May 13 confirmed them as positive.
Premiere Care Homes is now arranging for the retests of all staff and residents.
There is also support from a multidisciplinary team of staff the clinical commissioning group responsible for Thanet, local health professionals and KCC commissioners. A weekly meeting will be held with the home manager, area manager and business owner “until it is no longer required”. The CCG also co-ordinates daily strategy meetings to support all local care homes including Grosvenor Court.
Support offered includes clinical advice, infection control, commissioning, access to case management and signposting key guidance as and when it is produced.
Support is offered to care homes from Skills for Care and the Care Sector Workforce Team at KCC in areas including infection control, resilience, mental health and wellbeing.
A Kent County Council spokesperson said: ““KCC is deeply saddened by the news of the COVID-19 related deaths at Grosvenor Court Care Home and our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends of the residents and staff members.
“All care homes in Kent are working closely with KCC and CCG colleagues to keep residents as safe as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“PPE has, and will continue to be delivered to care homes as required. The staff in Grosvenor Court have all been tested for the virus. When the tests were undertaken, there were four people presumed infected. Results were returned on May 13 and their results were returned confirmed positive. Appropriate isolation measures were already in place and continued to be adhered to.
“The care home is arranging for all staff and residents to be re-tested for an up to date picture. Family members of staff can be tested according to current Government guidelines which is if they live with that key worker and have symptoms.
“There are several measures now in place to support the staff and residents at Grosvenor Court.”
Working with all care homes
KCC says additional support is offered to all care homes, adding: “All care homes, including Grosvenor Court, are working closely with their GP surgeries, community geriatricians, NHS frailty teams and community nurses to identify if and when a resident requires hospital support.
“Advanced care plans including ceilings of treatment are in place jointly with GPs and families are consulted on these. These provide good advice to the home on whether hospital treatment is necessary or not.
“The council has proactively offered financial support to all Adult Social Care providers during the current pandemic. In addition to the 2.74% increase applied to all KCC residential needs residents, and 3.4% increase applied to all KCC funded nursing residents in April, two additional payments were made to providers, each the equivalent of one week’s fees.
“These were provided on April 1 and April 29, specifically to support providers with their COVID-19 response.”
A spokesman for health watchdog the Care Quality Commission said the organisation was aware of the Covid outbreak at Grosvenor Court and had offered support.
He said care home bosses and staff had “done everything within their power” to deal with the virus, seeking help from Public Health England, Kent and Medway CCG, the CQC and Kent County Council.
Figures by the government show up to May 8 but registered up to May 16, Thanet has suffered 110 covid-related deaths including 40 registered by care homes.
Data released today (May 21) by Public Health England shows Thanet has recorded nine covid break outs in care homes. However, a home is only counted once even if it has more than one break out. The data says 13.8% of Thanet’s 65 care home facilities have had an outbreak.
For Kent there have been 140 reported covid outbreaks in care homes in a quarter of the county’s 547 facilities.
As of today (May 21) 603 people in Thanet have tested positive for the virus.
Nationally, data from the Office for National Statistics shows the crisis is countrywide with 12,526 care home residents dying with covid cited or suspected between March 2 and May 1, registered up to May 9. Of these 8,312 deaths were in care homes with 4,214 residents dying in other settings such as hospitals.
Of the 12,526 deaths,11,371 were classified as “confirmed” COVID-19 and 1,155 were classified as “suspected” COVID-19.
Government funding for care homes
On May 15 the government announced a new £600 million Infection Control Fund to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in care homes, in addition to £3.2 billion of financial support made available to local authorities to support key public services since the start of the crisis.
The fund, which is ringfenced for social care, will be given to local authorities to ensure care homes can continue to halt the spread of coronavirus by helping them cover the costs of implementing measures to reduce transmission.
Care homes will be asked to restrict permanent and agency staff to working in only one care home wherever possible. The funding could be used to meet the additional costs of restricting staff to work in one care home and pay the wages of those self-isolating.
The money will be paid in two equal instalments to local authorities and sums are allocated according to the number of care home beds in each area.
For Kent, which has 14,579 registered care beds, the cash award is £18,877,765.