Nationally there is growing concern over the outbreak of Covid-19 in care homes. Care workers in Welwyn Hatfield have been on the front line of this battle for months. The travesty unfolding in care settings isn’t just nationwide but here in our area.
Carers working during this crisis have told us of the many failings they have witnessed from the very beginning. These failures have put strain on a system that has been facing cuts for years.
The carers have told us how their involvement in dealing with the virus in their settings has been a series of false promises and dangerous actions.
They have seen people admitted to their setting with COVID whilst still in the infectious period. Carers work to high infection control levels every single day but this virus is new and it’s hard to contain anywhere. In a care home where the most vulnerable live is especially challenging.
Carers tell us their PPE is inadequate, that it takes weeks to arrive, many are having to purchase their own or are relying on generous donations from those in the wider community. They have also told us how they’re having to work with guidelines that fail to deliver adequate infection control. Guidelines that require them to use very basic masks, designed for 20 minutes, up to 4 hours at a time all while moving from resident to resident. Replacing them more frequently is discouraged as they need to manage stocks.
Carers have told us how testing is still patchy and largely not happening at the level government sources suggest. Of staff only able to get a test (often at a ‘drive in centre’ tens of miles away) if they have symptoms.
They have also told us about how care home deaths weren’t reported properly until early May, while they received many admissions for palliative care. This massaging of numbers is shocking.
Our wonderful carers often feel like a forgotten group when day in day out they care for our loved ones, working long hours and often facing staff shortages. They’re facing the unimaginable. Facing losing those they look after to this awful virus but also the fear every single day are they taking it home to their families. They deserve better.