With COVID-19 devastating the country and grinding it to a halt the care sector was one of the areas that was hit the hardest. With a reported 66,112 deaths related to COVID in the U.K in care homes.
After a review from the health secretary Matt Hancock a ‘support bubble’ was to be brought into place to help care homes in this major pandemic but many feel a lot could have been done earlier to prevent the staggering numbers of deaths.
Initially patients from care homes were sent straight back from hospital after not being tested for the virus with up to 25,000 patients being discharged. Causing a mass outbreak in care homes across the U.K contributing to the death toll.
In the South East of England 2,942 care homes were hit by Coronavirus. Including Brampton Lodge in Folkestone, Kent that was hit heavily by COVID-19.
Kent was one of the biggest areas of the U.K that had the most COVID-19 cases in the southern part of the U.K. when the outbreak first occurred and was one of the first areas in the southeast to be placed into Tier 4 lockdown towards the end of 2020.
Manager of Brampton Lodge, Michelle Baker has had to make many adaptations to Brampton Lodge in order to try and prevent adding to the 400 weekly deaths to care home residents that has been caused by the pandemic, and Admits ” It hasn’t been easy” and feels that support from the government and local authorities was “poor”.
Michelle goes on further to say: ” From the pandemic we’ve faced many issues. Staffing has been hard with a few of the carers here at Brampton Lodge contracting the virus and once one has it, it spreads like a wildfire.”
Unfortunately it’s not just the carers that have contracted the virus but also some of the residents in the home. Michelle said this: ” We had a one resident taken ill at the start of the pandemic and they were initially taken to hospital. But the problem was patients at the time were not being tested and were being sent home so its a high chance it was brought back into the home. “Unfortunately two of our residents passed away from COVID which is just heartbreaking and a lot more were ill from it being brought back into the home.”
Support from the government and local authorities has been a huge talking point throughout the pandemic with many left answering questions. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock was the one at the forefront of the debate appearing frequently on national television.
Hancock tried to reassure care homes that “Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes.” But many feel the government should have acted sooner and more efficiently including Michelle Baker.
“I feel more could have been done. We struggled to gain the correct PPE to start with which made things tricky and the policy to send are residents back from hospital that had COVID was just ridiculous.” “I know its a hard situation to deal with but things could have been done a lot better and for the Prime minister to say that care homes didn’t follow procedures feels like a right kick in the face.”
To see more watch the video (above) to see exclusive interviews when I spent 48 hours at Brampton Lodge.
Reported by Jack Bridge.