A body representing North East care homes says staff are frightened as they face the growing threat from coronavirus. Care North East, which represents around eighty care providers, says its members need more help in coping with the outbreak in order to safeguard staff and residents.
The association says it has several key concerns:
- a shortage of personal protective equipment and basic supplies.
- shortages of staff because some are self isolating.
- It's demanding more coronavirus testing for residents and workers.
Care North East says its members are being required to place patients, as they are discharged from hospital, not knowing whether they have coronavirus. It fears this is putting both current residents and staff at risk.
It also believes there is too little guidance on dealing with issues such as self isolation within a care home setting, particularly if a resident lives with dementia.
Keith Gray, who heads the association told ITV News Tyne Tees:
Michael Forster, who manages a care home in Stockton, told us that aside from PPE and hand sanitiser, his home has struggled to obtain everyday essentials.
ITV Tyne Tees has spoken to one care home worker who told us she was making her own face masks from plastic bottles, in case she needs to protect herself. The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told us:
The Government told ITV News this week that it is working round the clock to give social carers the equipment and support they need.
Yesterday, the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock is aiming to increase the number of people being tested for coronavirus to100,000 every day by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the Local Government Association, which brings together councils around the country said:
So far, Care North East says there have been a small number of cases of coronavirus in the region's care homes. With the number of cases - more generally - expected to rise - its members say they must be prepared.