The Care Quality Commission states that caregivers have been asked to work in some homes with viruses, inadequate isolation and inappropriate use of PPE
Inspectors also identified significant gaps in the protection from the pandemic in some nursing homes, including covid-positive caregivers being asked to operate because of staffing shortages, a failure to separate residents when they return from the hospital, and inadequate use of personal protective equipment.
The Care Quality Commission has given notices to at least 14 nursing homes in England during the past two weeks for infection management concerns that the independent regulator says can put patients at risk and breach regulations of the Health and Social Care Act.
The problems arose as the number of covid outbreaks in English nursing homes increased by 65% in a week and GPs rushed to produce the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of this month to vaccinate the 400,000 highest-priority individuals.
As the first doses of the new vaccine were delivered, nursing homes announced relief Thursday, but new data from Public Health England showed it was a race against time.
In the last week of 2020, the number of nursing homes in England that reported a Covid infection increased to 503, more than doubling in two weeks.
However, the number of deaths in nursing homes from Covid remains much smaller than during the first phase of the spring pandemic.
In Southeast England, where a new, more readily transmitted strain is most common, and a serious Covid outbreak in East Sussex, where 13 of 27 residents died over Christmas, the Guardian reported growing alarm this week.
At a range of facilities, including Brookfield Care Home in Middlesbrough, where 41 workers and residents tested positive in October within a week and eight residents died of covid, the CQC found problems.
Following the outbreak, a targeted inspection found that “the provider was not adequately promoting social distancing” and that “staff cohorting and service zoning had not been fully adopted to minimize the risk of transmission of infection between different areas of the service.”
Five workers told CQC inspectors at Brookfield that they or their peers had been asked to deal with covid symptoms or a positive test result. The operator of Brookfield, SSL Healthcare, said this occurred when extreme staff shortages were triggered by the outbreak.
It was addressed with the local government, which the next day altered its recommendation, he said.
“One asymptomatic staff member reported for duty; he left the premises within 30 minutes of the recommendation change,” SSL said. “All recommendations were implemented. We are confident that all of our residents are safe and well cared for.”
“People are not isolated when they come back from the hospital.”People are not alone when they come back from the hospital.
Inspectors found that “no consideration was given to how social distancing could be maintained” and deemed the home insufficient. A request for comment was not answered by Vestige.
Problems observed in other homes included inadequate cleaning and workers moving between floors while they were expected to function to avoid infections in specified areas.
In one household, inspectors found the dirty laundry of a person who was self-isolated in an open bag in the common hallway after returning from the hospital.
A targeted inspection at The Croft, an Autism UK care home on the Isle of Wight, found that “staff were making close contact and touching people … without wearing disposable gloves or aprons” and that a parent visited a resident in the common room that was shared with other individuals.
“Failure to follow government best practice guidelines correctly put people at risk of infection,” a study said, finding that the home had violated safe care regulations and was “inadequate.”
“In difficult situations, Autism UK said it had “worked extremely hard.” We have acted on all the problems posed in the CQC report and we can demonstrate that the mechanisms we have in place ensure that the individuals we support and our m m m m