‘Deep sadness’ at Thornbury care home as 12 residents die during coronavirus outbreak

May 18 2020
‘Deep sadness’ at Thornbury care home as 12 residents die during coronavirus outbreak

A THORNBURY care home has suffered an outbreak of coronavirus, during which 12 residents died.

The boss of the company which runs Beech House, Bristol Care Homes, has spoken of his “deep sadness” at the outbreak, which began in the middle of March, before the lockdown and “before the risk of widespread community infection was fully understood”.

Beech House, in Prowse Close, cares for “very elderly” people, many of whom have serious medical conditions.

Bristol Care Homes chief executive Richard Crocker said that when the first infections were recognised, managers at Beech House (above) brought in “strict infection control procedures”, including stopping all visits.

However 22 residents developed symptoms and 12 of them died.

Mr Crocker said that at the time Public Health England was only testing the first five residents of any care home to develop symptoms. This meant that it was not possible to confirm how many of the residents who died had COVID-19 – but those who had symptoms after the first five tests were “assumed” to have had the virus.

The other ten residents made a full recovery and the care home now has no cases.

Bristol Care Homes runs three other homes: Glebe House in Almondsbury, and Field House and Quarry House in Bristol.

Mr Crocker said some residents at Glebe House and Quarry House had displayed symptoms of COVID-19 but they had all been tested and found not to have the virus.

All new residents at the company's homes must now undergo 14 days in isolation when they arrive.

Mr Crocker said: “There’s a lot of focus at the moment on coronavirus in care homes, and rightly so.

Elderly people with healthcare needs are known to be particularly vulnerable to the virus. Care homes therefore do need to guard very vigilantly against infection and ensure that any resident who does become infected receives immediate nursing care to achieve a full recovery.

Keeping everyone safe has always been a priority for Bristol Care Homes. It applies equally to all our residents, their relatives and friends, and to all our staff.”

Mr Crocker said that from the start, staff have had adequate personal protective equipment, which is worn throughout the home, and were working to protect residents and ensure that anyone infected had “the maximum likelihood of a swift recovery”.

He said the company has “implemented very detailed strict infection control procedures in every aspect of the home’s daily life from nursing and caring, through to catering and cleaning”.

Mr Crocker said: “Our residents do need care which in turn requires contact, but our procedures ensure that such necessary contact is at a rigorously professional level of infection control, so that risk to the resident is minimised.”

Staff are regularly screening residents for coronavirus symptoms, with a nursing team on site to care for anyone with a suspected infection in isolation.

Mr Crocker said: “We can currently report that these measures have been effective in minimising infection and maximising recovery, and we can reassure our local communities that our homes are as safe as they can possibly be, certainly at least as safe as any other environment.

We have experienced infection, and sadly some mortality, but also high levels of recovery. At Beech House 22 of our residents suffered symptoms, of which sadly 12 have passed away. Our condolences are with their family and friends. We are able to report however that 10 of these 22 have made a full recovery.

Our staff team have been wonderfully supportive, and have dedicated themselves 100% to continue the excellence of their care for our residents, often working well beyond the call of duty. We are hugely grateful to them, and are sure you will all agree they are local heroes through this crisis.

We also are very grateful for the excellent support we’ve had from our local Thornbury community who have rallied around, providing our staff with items like headbands to help when wearing masks, shoe coverings when we have been short of supply, and who have been very understanding of the safety policies we have put in place, for example in not allowing visitors into the home.

We are very grateful for all the support we have received from everyone.”