South Holland care homes face COVID-19 concerns
Care homes across South Holland are having varied levels of success in protecting staff and residents from contracting coronavirus.
The Spalding Guardian contacted 16 care homes in the area to ask whether anyone had shown COVID-19 symptoms and if adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) were available for staff.
Cedar Falls Care Home, off Little London, Spalding, confirmed that one of its kitchen staff was currently self-isolating, having tested positive for the coronavirus, while staff at Holbeach Hospital described the supply of PPE as "sporadic".
Nike Ajewole, managing director of Tanglewood Care Services which owns Cedar Falls, said: "One of our kitchen staff was tested 17 days ago after his wife, who works on the frontline for the NHS, tested positive for COVID-19.
"The staff member had mild symptoms and immediately after he tested positive, he contacted Cedar Falls and spoke to the manager who then called me.
"Under our duty of care guidelines, and to be transparent, we recommended that the staff member should stay at home and self-isolate for another seven days before coming back to work.
"He had not been at work for 17 days before testing positive, but we contacted the kitchen staff and advised them that if they showed any symptoms of COVID-19, they should self-isolate.
"We've not had any other positive cases at all and our staff have everything they need, in terms of PPE, as we were already prepared just in case anything like this happened."
But Rebecca Atkinson, secretary of Holbeach Hospital, said: "The supply of PPE is sporadic as we have been told by our suppliers that the NHS is a priority.
"But with an enormous amount of effort, our staff have not had to compromise on PPE usage."
Ian Canham, chief executive of Broadgate Homes which owns Abbeygate Rest Homes in Crowland and Moulton, said: "These are indeed challenging times for everybody and not least those involved in the care industry.
"Both Moulton and Crowland Abbeygate Homes are currently COVID-19 free and continue to work to try and make life as normal as possible for all of our residents.
"We have always known how devoted and hard-working our staff are at Abbeygate.
"But in these times, all of the staff - including the managers - are going over and above to show time and time again how much they care for the residents and the home.
"These people, like many others in the frontline across a number of different key industries, are a credit to themselves, ourselves and their profession.
"If nothing else is learned from this period of our history then it should be the fact that what people earn should never be seen as a measure of their worth to a community.
"We have been supported well by Lincolnshire County Council's public health team and they are constantly being pro-active in contacting us to be sure they are aware of any potential shortages we may have, helping to fill those gaps.
"The whole operation must be a logistical nightmare and whilst we as a society are not used to operating in such a rapidly evolving crisis, it is heartening to realise that there is support out there geared up to assist with crisis management."
Tracey Laud, manager of Brun Lea and Bank House Residential Care Homes, in Pinchbeck and Gosberton respectively, said: "We have no cases of coronavirus with residents or staff and we have a steady supply of PPE coming through from our regular suppliers.
"Full face shields have also been ordered which we are waiting to come through by the end of the week in case we should need them."
Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for adult care, health and children's services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "Care home providers are working hard to provide their staff with the required PPE and there are more national supplies promised.
"In the meantime, we are helping to cover any shortfalls with limited supplies for those who need urgent support.
- More than 100 patients discharged from hospital
- Coronavirus surge expected in Lincolnshire in May
- Gradual increase in care home cases
"Care homes and their staff over the whole county are providing tremendous support to their residents in the face of increasing challenges.
"They are all doing a superb job in caring for our most vulnerable people in the safest possible way."