DEADLY THREAT FAC­ING CARE HOMES

Owner: I’d rather close than carry on un­der­funded and with staff lack­ing vi­tal pro­tec­tion gear:

Bangor Mail - - Front Page - Jayme Hud­sp­ith

ACON­CERNED care home owner says au­thor­i­ties need to learn lessons from Spain to avoid mass deaths of res­i­dents from coro­n­avirus.

Glyn Wil­liams, who runs the Gwyddfor Res­i­den­tial Home in Bod­ed­ern, An­gle­sey, claims his care home is un­der­funded and staff are lack­ing per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPE).

He said he would rather close if he can’t pro­tect his res­i­dents and staff prop­erly.

Mr Wil­liams, a coun­cil mem­ber of Care Fo­rum Wales which rep­re­sents more than 450 in­de­pen­dent providers, out­lined his con­cerns in a let­ter to An­gle­sey AM Rhun ap Ior­w­erth.

The is­sue hit close to home af­ter it was re­ported last week that two res­i­dents of the Gwynedd Coun­cil run Plas Pen­waith in Llan­beris, died af­ter con­tract­ing Covid-19.

Mr Wil­liams said it was “lu­di­crous” that An­gle­sey Coun­cil had cal­cu­lated its own stan­dard fee weekly fee to be £760 for coun­cil-run homes com­pared to the £585.72 Gwyddfor re­ceives per res­i­dent ev­ery week.

He said it was un­fair dur­ing nor­mal times but was mak­ing life “ut­terly im­pos­si­ble” dur­ing the cur­rent na­tional emer­gency.

In the let­ter, Mr Wil­liams also claims that staff are not pro­vided with enough PPE, and despite buy­ing as much as he can get his hands on, Mr Wil­liams says those sup­plies would only last around three days if they need to use it.

The home has re­or­gan­ised shifts, taken on ex­tra staff and bought two mil­i­tary mess tents and used them to con­vert their atrium into a three-stage de­con­tam­i­na­tion fa­cil­ity.

He added that he does not think the coun­cil has taken on­board how se­ri­ous this out­break is go­ing to be, “and that we are now on our own”.

“You only have to look at Spain and the el­derly res­i­dents found aban­doned and dead in their beds. We have a very short space of time within which to pro­tect the most vulnerable on An­gle­sey and VALUE our staff.

“I can un­der­stand why this hap­pened in Spain, in­ad­e­quate PPE, un­der­val­ued and under trained staff. Staff num­bers de­creas­ing. Can you imag­ine how scared staff must have been try­ing to look af­ter and iso­late wan­der­ing de­men­tia res­i­dents’ who don’t have a clue what’s hap­pen­ing to them.

“I’m sure they would have got to the stage of lock­ing them in their rooms with staff too fright­ened to go in. All the signs are there for us to learn from, and we’re not learn­ing.

“Care Fo­rum Wales have been say­ing that a per­fect storm is brew­ing, it’s just turned into a Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane.

“I now have to think about the fu­ture vi­a­bil­ity of my busi­ness, and whether or not I can pro­vide a safe and high stan­dard of care. Quite frankly, I would rather close than con­tinue at the cur­rent un­der­funded lev­els.”

He said he has ap­proached An­gle­sey Coun­cil to see if they could sub­sidise res­i­dents up to a pri­vate client’s stan­dard fee in­stead of the “to­tally in­ad­e­quate au­thor­ity fund­ing lev­els”.

It was a sen­ti­ment echoed by Mario Kreft MBE, the chair­man of Care

Fo­rum Wales, who has re­vealed that care home own­ers feel aban­doned.

Mr Kreft added: “We can’t al­low care homes to be­come col­lat­eral dam­age other­wise more peo­ple are go­ing to die than would other­wise be the case.

“This crisis will chal­lenge us all, and we must work as one in the deep­est of part­ner­ships to en­sure that as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble are saved.”

An Isle of An­gle­sey County Coun­cil spokesper­son said: “We set our fees based on a re­gional fee modelling tool used con­sis­tently as a base for fees across North Wales.

“We un­der­stand that this is a dif­fi­cult time, and con­tinue to dis­cuss ways in which we can sup­port providers. We fully sup­port the need to pro­tect staff and res­i­dents in ac­cor­dance with Welsh Gov­ern­ment Guide­lines.”

A Gwynedd Coun­cil spokesper­son said: “As a Coun­cil, we un­der­stand and share the con­cern of care providers and their staff re­gard­ing a suit­able sup­ply of ad­e­quate PPE. This mat­ter has been dis­cussed on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Welsh and UK Gov­ern­ments at the high­est pos­si­ble level.

“We are in close daily con­tact with the pri­vate care sec­tor and as more sup­plies come through, we will be re­spond­ing to the needs of in­di­vid­ual care providers. “As well as re­quest­ing fur­ther sup­plies, last week we sent an ap­peal out to lo­cal busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions for any suit­able stocks of PPE that they could share with us. Whilst this is far from ideal, we have re­ceived a fan­tas­tic re­sponse so far, and all the PPE we have re­ceived is cur­rently be­ing sorted and pre­pared for dis­tri­bu­tion over the com­ing days.”

■ El­derly res­i­dents found aban­doned and dead in their beds dur­ing the Covid-19 pan­demic in Spain... and care home boss Glyn Wil­liams (be­low) fears it will hap­pen in Wales too

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