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Why can’t the elderly go to the empty Nightingales?

Furious families have today accused the Government of ‘sacrificing’ Britain’s elderly in the fight against coronavirus by discharging COVID-19 patients into care homes and signing the ‘death warrant’ of the most vulnerable in society. 

NHS hospitals have been ordered to drastically free up beds, meaning thousands of patients have been released, with scores of elderly Britons meeting the criteria sent to care homes dotted across the UK.

In a revolt against the ‘dangerous’ drive, some care homes have already refused to accept patients over coronavirus fears – not everyone is swabbed for the killer virus before they are discharged from hospital.  

But one home in Essex was allegedly forced to accept an elderly COVID-19 patient ‘against their wishes’ before they were re-admitted to hospital the next day. The daughter of a 96-year-old resident accused Number 10 of ‘recklessly exposing’ others to the infection. 

In Herefordshire, a dementia-stricken 78-year-old was discharged from hospital to a care home, without her family being told. She also had a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) notice along with the orders not to send back to hospital if she caught coronavirus.

Demanding action from Downing Street, her daughter said: ‘My mother has worked all her life and paid into the NHS they do not have the right to sign her death warrant because she’s old and has dementia.’

Despite hospitals being told to free up space, it was revealed last night that London’s Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre sat almost empty with just 19 coronavirus patients treated over the Easter weekend. 

It comes after care industry bosses yesterday suggested that two thirds of all homes across Britain have recorded coronavirus cases. Around 500,000 people are in care homes in the UK.

The Birchwood Residential Care Home, in Essex, was allegedly forced to accept an elderly COVID-19 patient 'against their wishes' before they were re-admitted to hospital the next day

The Birchwood Residential Care Home, in Essex, was allegedly forced to accept an elderly COVID-19 patient 'against their wishes' before they were re-admitted to hospital the next day

The Birchwood Residential Care Home, in Essex, was allegedly forced to accept an elderly COVID-19 patient ‘against their wishes’ before they were re-admitted to hospital the next day

Workers help prepare the ExCel London centre, which has been made into the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital

Workers help prepare the ExCel London centre, which has been made into the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital

Workers help prepare the ExCel London centre, which has been made into the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital

HIDDEN EPIDEMIC OF CORONAVIRUS IN CARE HOMES MAY HAVE COST 4,000 LIVES, EXPERTS WARN 

A ‘hidden epidemic’ of coronavirus in care homes may have cost 4,000 lives, experts warned last night. 

They believe deaths are being hugely under-reported because of a lack of testing.

GPs are also sometimes reluctant to write COVID-19 on death certificates and figures from care homes are not included in the official daily toll. 

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics says the virus killed 217 care home residents in England and Wales up to April 3. 

But industry figures say the true count is much higher – potentially 4,000 since the outbreak started. 

Campaigners and MPs warned yesterday of an ‘unfolding horror’ that could end up with tens of thousands of forgotten victims. 

Ministers face urgent calls to get a grip and get virus tests for all staff and residents with symptoms, more protection gear and a Cabinet minister to deal with the crisis.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night pledged action on testing and is also expected to outline a plan to address the crisis in a social care strategy. 

Care home operators complain they are being overlooked, with desperate short – ages of testing and staff safety equipment making it extremely hard to stop the disease ravaging their sites. 

Grim statistics released yesterday also showed the number of coronavirus deaths in care homes rose ten-fold by the start of April, up from just 20 for the week ending March 27.

But the true scale of the coronavirus catastrophe in Britain’s care homes is a mystery because the figures released by the Office for National Statistics are almost two weeks out-of-date.  

Number 10 is under mounting pressure to start recording all coronavirus deaths, wherever they happen, amid the accusations the true toll is being swept under the carpet.

The UK’s care home regulator, the Care Quality Commission, announced it would step in to collect daily numbers of coronavirus deaths. 

Helen Buniak revealed her 96-year-old mother’s home was ‘ordered’ to admit a coronavirus patient from hospital ‘against their wishes’ on April 8.

She alleged that the Birchwood Residential Care Home, in Ilford, was told it was ‘Government policy’.

The discharged patient only stayed in the facility for one day before they were re-admitted to hospital, Ms Buniak claimed. 

She told MailOnline: ‘How shocking and completely reckless to allow the virus to enter into a care home that was clear of the virus.

‘However much the staff did their best to isolate the patient, there is still a serious risk that the virus could spread and cause multiple deaths.’ 

Ms Buniak said it seemed like the lives of older people in care homes are ‘invisible’ and argued: ‘The Government is willing to sacrifice them.’ 

‘The Government’s so called policy to shield those most vulnerable clearly does not apply to the elderly in care homes.’

TRUE DEATH TOLL COULD BE 12,000

There are no official figures on the number of care home deaths so far, but some estimates put the toll as high as 12,000. 

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says evidence from France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Ire – land suggests between 4 2 per cent and 57 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths happen in care homes. 

There have been 1 2,000 deaths officially in the UK so far, according to Government figures which only cover hospitals. 

It could mean there have been another 1 2,000 in care homes. The Office for National Statistics puts the number at only 217 but its figures are 11 days out of date at a time when the death rate has risen dramatically. 

Care England, which represents independent care providers, and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey both estimate the toll to be at least 1,000. 

The Mail’s own audit has found 951 deaths, but many care homes have declined to give figures. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates there have been 2,500 deaths

The Birchwood care home, which looks after around 40 elderly patients, is one of dozens to have limited routine visits from family members.  

Another MailOnline reader revealed her elderly dementia-stricken mother was discharged to a care home, without checking with her. 

Her mother, of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, was stuck in hospital because health officials had yet to find a care package for her.

She told MailOnline: ‘Due to the COVID-19 outbreak most care homes in Hereford with places refused to take her so she was there a while. 

‘The hospital were getting really annoyed because they wanted her out as soon as possible and the bed freed up.

‘On Sunday (April 12) they discharged her to a care home in Worcestershire without consulting me or checking the home could meet her complex needs.’

The woman – who wanted to remain anonymous – added: ‘She arrived with a DNR, which said do not transfer back to hospital if she contracts COVID-19. 

‘My mother has worked all her life and paid into the NHS they do not have the right to sign her death warrant because she’s old and has dementia.

‘If my mum gets sick with COVID-19 she will be left to die and the hospital will refuse to admit her because the DNR will be in her notes.’ 

LONDON’S NEW MAKE-SHIFT HOSPITAL HAD JUST 19 PATIENTS OVER EASTER 

A hospital bed and respirator at ExCel London

A hospital bed and respirator at ExCel London

A hospital bed and respirator at ExCel London

London‘s Nightingale Hospital sat almost empty with just 19 coronavirus patients treated over the Easter weekend.

The 4,000 capacity flagship hospital was opened by Prince Charles via video link almost two weeks ago and is designed to handle a large surge in coronavirus cases.

However data circulated to health chiefs and seen by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) shows some hospitals have been able to double their ICU capacity, to 1,555 beds, despite rising levels of infections.

It also showed only 19 patients were receiving treatment over the Easter weekend at the facility located in the Docklands.

It comes after it was warned last night that a ‘hidden epidemic’ of coronavirus in care homes may have cost 4,000 lives. 

Experts believe deaths are being hugely under-reported because of a lack of testing.

GPs are also sometimes reluctant to write COVID-19 on death certificates and figures from care homes are not included in the official daily toll. 

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics says the virus killed 217 care home residents in England and Wales up to April 3. 

But industry figures say the true count is much higher – potentially 4,000 since the outbreak started. 

Campaigners and MPs warned yesterday of an ‘unfolding horror’ that could end up with tens of thousands of forgotten victims. 

Ministers face urgent calls to get a grip and get virus tests for all staff and residents with symptoms, more protection gear and a Cabinet minister to deal with the crisis.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night pledged action on testing and is also expected to outline a plan to address the crisis in a social care strategy. 

Care home operators complain they are being overlooked, with desperate short – ages of testing and staff safety equipment making it extremely hard to stop the disease ravaging their sites. 

Stanley Park care home in Stanley after thirteen residents died after displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

Stanley Park care home in Stanley after thirteen residents died after displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

Stanley Park care home in Stanley after thirteen residents died after displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

Heartbreaking reports from the front line: Amid fears the number of coronavirus deaths in care homes is much higher than official statistics suggest, relatives of four victims reveal the agony of their loss

by Daniel Martin, Policy Editor for the Daily Mail 

Care home nurse Elsie Sazuze ‘lost her life doing the job she loved’, a friend said yesterday.

The 44-year-old self-isolated after showing symptoms of coronavirus but had to be taken to hospital and put on a ventilator as her condition deteriorated.

The married mother-of-two, pictured, died earlier this month at the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

Her husband Kenneth, 45, said she had understood the risks of continuing her job after the coronavirus outbreak began but had wanted to carry on working.

Mrs Sazuze, who was originally from Malawi in Africa, trained and worked at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton before starting work at a care home in Cannock, Staffordshire.

Care home nurse Elsie Sazuze ‘lost her life doing the job she loved’, a friend said yesterday

Care home nurse Elsie Sazuze ‘lost her life doing the job she loved’, a friend said yesterday

Care home nurse Elsie Sazuze ‘lost her life doing the job she loved’, a friend said yesterday

Mr Sazuze, who is training to be a nurse, said he was not allowed to see his wife of 24 years after she was admitted to hospital. 

But she called him just before she was put on the ventilator. ‘She started telling me, ‘Ken, if I don’t come back, be strong, I love you, be strong for the kids’,’ he told the BBC.

‘I was like, ‘no, no, no, don’t tell me that. I don’t want you to start telling me that in a negative way… we will be all right.’

‘She said, ‘I’m just telling you in case’.’

She understood the risks of working on the front line but was happy to help people, he added.

Family friend William Fungatira said: ‘Elsie was a naturally quiet person but very caring, friendly, cheerful and resilient.

‘She had a passion to always help others. She was dedicated to helping people. It’s a great loss to all of us who knew her and, indeed, to the wider community because she lost her life doing the job she loved.’

 It’s been a harrowing and lonely battle with no help

The manager of three care homes where 11 residents have died from Covid-19 has said she is fighting a ‘harrowing and lonely’ battle against the virus.

Nicola Richards, 46, pictured right, who runs Palms Row Healthcare, said she has been ‘pulled apart’ by the illness, which is tearing through her facilities.

A quarter of the Sheffield homes’ 200 residents are infected, 30 staff have also tested positive and one nurse is in intensive care.

‘It’s another one and another one and another one’, she said. ‘I’m not getting to sleep. I’ve not switched off. I can’t describe the stress.’

Nicola Richards, 46, who runs Palms Row Healthcare, said she has been ‘pulled apart’ by the illness, which is tearing through her facilities

Nicola Richards, 46, who runs Palms Row Healthcare, said she has been ‘pulled apart’ by the illness, which is tearing through her facilities

Nicola Richards, 46, who runs Palms Row Healthcare, said she has been ‘pulled apart’ by the illness, which is tearing through her facilities

Mrs Richards said the mental health of her residents is deteriorating because they have to be kept in their rooms and can’t receive visitors.

‘How do you explain to elderly residents that their wife or daughter isn’t coming to see them today? I have residents crying because they can’t see their loved ones.

‘If we’ve got residents who are dying we’ve been told people can’t come and see them – only one visitor is allowed. It is soul-destroying.

‘They’re at the end of life and seeing workers in masks – it’s just so clinical.’

The mother-of-two added: ‘I’m trying to keep staff morale but it’s really tough …a lonely journey. I feel like I’ve had no support from the authorities. We have only had one PPE delivery. The lack of awareness has been something else.

‘Our elderly have been forgotten. It’s like we’re the bottom of the pecking order. I’ve got to hope lessons are learnt. It’s just been so dark.’

 Staff had begged the public to give masks

An 86-year-old great-grandfather died at a care home where managers had reported a shortage of face masks.

Reg Amison passed away at the Bradwell Hall nursing home last month, after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Days earlier the home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, had appealed for donations of face masks from the public because its stocks were low and suppliers were unable to confirm delivery dates.

At least one member of staff has tested positive for the coronavirus and several others have gone into self-isolation.

Reg Amison passed away at the Bradwell Hall nursing home last month, after testing positive for the coronavirus

Reg Amison passed away at the Bradwell Hall nursing home last month, after testing positive for the coronavirus

Reg Amison passed away at the Bradwell Hall nursing home last month, after testing positive for the coronavirus

Mr Amison’s son Robert, 58, called on the Government to improve access to protective equipment and virus testing for care home workers.

He told the Daily Mail: ‘The staff had almost no equipment to stop the disease spreading.

‘I’m not blaming the home, they looked after my dad really, really well. But the Government should be ramping up testing, and frontline nurses and carers should get tested first.’

Mr Amison said it was ‘heart-breaking’ that he and his mother Dorothy, 83, (pictured with Reg) had not been able to visit his father before his death.

He said: ‘It’s one of the hardest things, to be told your dad is dying but you can’t go and sit with him and hold his hand. It broke our hearts not to be there.’

Bradwell Hall confirmed that one staff member had tested positive for the illness and was recovering at home, and others are self-isolating.

Residents who showed symptoms of Covid-19 were being kept isolated in their rooms and ‘barrier-nursed’ in line with national guidance, meaning staff must wear protective equipment, the home said.

Therapist died in hospital where she used to work

Retired NHS carer Dianne Harvey died in the hospital where she used to work, her family said.

Mrs Harvey, 77, lived in the same care home as Reg Amison, and her family suspect that both of the pensioners caught coronavirus there.

Mrs Harvey, pictured with her late husband Peter, was a retired NHS occupational therapist and had lived in Bradwell Hall for four years after she developed dementia.

Mrs Harvey, pictured with her late husband Peter, was a retired NHS occupational therapist and had lived in Bradwell Hall for four years after she developed dementia

Mrs Harvey, pictured with her late husband Peter, was a retired NHS occupational therapist and had lived in Bradwell Hall for four years after she developed dementia

Mrs Harvey, pictured with her late husband Peter, was a retired NHS occupational therapist and had lived in Bradwell Hall for four years after she developed dementia

The former Sunday School teacher and Scout leader was taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital in Staffordshire after she became seriously ill with coronavirus. She failed to recover and died there.

Mrs Harvey had two sons, Paul and Roger, with her husband who was an ambulance driver.

Paul, 51, said: ‘She loved to help out in the local community every way she could.’

He added: ‘She was so selfless – always putting others above herself.’ 

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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