Posted: Fri 17th Jul 2020

Three Flintshire care homes still have coronavirus cases – but council praised for support as number drops from 16

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 17th, 2020

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Three Flintshire care homes still have active coronavirus cases, it’s been revealed despite an overall drop in infections.

However, the local authority has been praised for the support it’s provided as the number impacted has lowered significantly from the peak of the pandemic, when more than half of the 27 homes in the county impacted.

Councillors were told yesterday that 16 care homes were classed as “red” – where a positive case was confirmed – when the virus was at its worst.

It resulted in them having to go into a period of isolation where no new or returning residents could be admitted and everyone in the setting had to be tested.

Susie Lunt, senior manager of integrated services, said the majority were now in the green category, with no positive cases.

She told members of the council’s social and health care scrutiny that staff had received a large amount of praise from care home owners for their assistance.

Their efforts have included recruiting volunteers to provide twice weekly deliveries of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the authority’s stockpile, supplying extra workers and helping residents to keep in touch with loved ones.

The authority has also increased the normal fees it would pay to homes for placements by ten per cent to help tide them over financially.
Ms Lunt said: “At the peak of the pandemic, Flintshire had 16 care homes in a red position and today I can confirm we have three in a red position.

“Hopefully by mid-August we won’t have any if we don’t have any more outbreaks so that’s a good position to be in.

“Because care homes are classed as a closed setting, we’ve spent a lot of time supporting people to connect with their loved ones over the phone where we can do that.

“We’ve also done Facetime, Zoom and Webex and now following Care Inspectorate Wales guidance, we are actually allowed to support people meeting their loves ones outside.

“People have been very grateful for the support and we’ve had cakes dropped off at the door and boxes of chocolates.

“We’ve also had really nice compliments, as well as cards, flowers and hanging baskets.”

Officers said Flintshire social services had been “robust” in ensuring residents in staff and care homes could be tested.

They also reported there had been a quick turnaround in receiving results, with escalation procedures in place in the event of delays.

Ms Lunt added: “In terms of additional support, when we were in the peak and care homes were struggling to get staff themselves our in house staff made themselves available.

“For example, our training team weren’t delivering training so they went to work in care homes covering shifts.

“Ordinary people were unsurprisingly scared to go into care homes, but they stood up to the mark and did that very well.”

Their work was hailed by a number of councillors in attendance at the virtual meeting.

Cllr Martin White, who represents part of Connah’s Quay, said: “All the care homes in Flintshire took a lead before the governments, both in London and Cardiff, to close down.

“How many lives that saved we don’t know, but I’m very grateful that my dad’s still alive.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Christine Jones, cabinet member for social services, said: “I’m extremely proud of all our care home managers, all the staff and all our social care staff across the board.

“Our senior management team have been absolutely amazing, and I’ve had virtually daily updates from them throughout this crisis.

“People don’t actually know out there how much work has actually gone on in our communities.

“I think we should all be proud to be living in Flintshire and how well our care homes have been looked after.”

Councillors voted to back the approach of the council in supporting local care homes at the end of the meeting.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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