‘We feel incredibly powerless’: What it’s like for those whose loved ones are in care homes right now

As more information comes to light on how hospital patients were discharged into care homes without being tested for coronavirus, Helen Coffey speaks to those whose family members are vulnerable

Friday 22 May 2020 12:34
Care homes have been  breeding grounds for coronavirus
Care homes have been breeding grounds for coronavirus

“I am worried, yes, because I think if she gets it, she’s not going to survive it. I don’t think she has the mental or physical strength to fight.”

Ruth Mead, a primary school teacher from North London, is talking about her 96-year-old grandma, Elsie, who moved into a care home between Christmas and New Year. When Ruth says “it”, no further explanation is needed – we all know the silent enemy she’s referring to. And, as it turns out, with good reason; there have now been several cases of Covid-19 among the residents in her grandmother’s Islington care home.

Ruth is in the same position as thousands of others across the country, forced to wait in fear while their loved ones are quarantined in residential care homes. Increasingly, news is coming to light about alleged mistakes made early on in the coronavirus outbreak when it comes to this vulnerable group: in particular, the decision to discharge hospital patients back into care homes without testing them for the virus first. Even residents and staff who displayed symptoms weren’t eligible for tests right up until 15 April.

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