‘We need to plan for the worst’: a care home owner’s coronavirus diary | Social care


When David Romero McGuire, who owns a 48-bed care house in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, heard the prime minister criticise the care sector final week for failing to comply with coronavirus procedures, it made his blood boil.

In response, McGuire, has launched extracts from a diary he saved because the Covid-19 pandemic unfold via the UK, killing 20,000 care house residents.

McGuire, who’s chief govt of the Diagrama Foundation, a charity for susceptible kids and adults, mentioned Boris Johnson had used care houses as scapegoats for his personal authorities’s failings.

The diary extracts reveal the usually agonising sense of duty and frustration felt by homeowners of care houses, and the lengths they went to – and are nonetheless going to – typically within the absence of clear steerage, as a way to defend residents. McGuire’s house has seen no circumstances of coronavirus up to now.

Thursday 12 March 2020

I’m answerable for the care of greater than 90 susceptible folks within the UK. With all of the ache in my coronary heart and with no means of realizing whether or not it was proper or unsuitable, I took the powerful resolution immediately to shut our aged care house to non-essential visits (together with households) and to any neighborhood actions.

Sunday 15 March

My mind has been burning on a regular basis with the thought that any resident may need the virus. I do know I have to do all the things and past to maintain everybody wholesome however I don’t know the place to begin. Reactions have been getting back from extra households now. Every part from reward and help to not understanding and urgent to return to the house to go to their family members anyway.

Monday 16 March

The information in Spain displays a rustic in an alarming state. But within the UK there may be nonetheless barely a response, besides directions to scrub our palms. I’m closing our head workplace and all people will earn a living from home from tomorrow.* The duty to verify all our workers and their households are secure is sort of a heavy stone.

*It was time nicely spent. It was one other two weeks earlier than we ultimately acquired any official protocols from our personal authorities and native authorities.

Tuesday 17 March

The procuring we have to put together prematurely for the possible shortages is colossal. Supermarkets received’t let workers purchase greater than small portions of some items. They’re feeling determined about this, as am I. As a result of the Care High quality Fee [CQC watchdog] encourages us to buy like regular households would do, moderately than go to the wholesalers for instance, we now have just one week of provides left.

Monday 23 March

Now we have to go to the grocery store just about every single day. Lots of the cabinets are empty and it’s exhausting going from place to put attempting to get what we are able to. Now we have to scrub each single merchandise, each time, in our small workplace earlier than we are able to carry it into the totally different houses. It’s onerous work, however utterly obligatory.

Wednesday 25 March

Whereas we now have had no Covid-19 in our companies, my colleagues made me realise that the one means now that our residents will get it’s by our personal workers who’re going out and passing it on to them. We may actually kill them. It’s a powerful realisation to withstand. Now we have determined to deal with all workers coming to work – myself included – as contaminated (though none of us have signs).

Friday 27 March

Obtained a letter from the native authority, giving permission for us to buy in bulk on the supermarkets – greater than two weeks after panic shopping for began. I’m wondering how they thought we had been managing to feed folks within the meantime????

Thursday 2 April

The federal government steerage is that no masks shall be delivered to us till somebody is contaminated. I’ve determined to go towards authorities steerage, to make use of masks always. However there’s a dire scarcity of masks. Now we have not acquired any from native authorities and the supply instances to purchase our personal is weeks. What occurs if we use the entire masks that we now have after which if there may be an an infection? Too many issues to consider.

Monday 6 April

We acquired some excellent news immediately. Essex county council has supplied us a Block Mattress contract. They want house within the hospitals and need to use our beds at our aged care house for the overspill.

We are going to settle for the contract with an enormous BUT: we won’t settle for any new resident coming from hospital or every other care house and not using a damaging check for Covid-19 first. Evidently, Essex weren’t glad, as we weren’t following the federal government steerage … once more.*

*We had been completely proper to stay to our weapons on this because it later emerged residents coming in from hospitals had been spreading the virus in care houses.

Wednesday eight April

I’ve realised that my mode till now has been that WE WILL NOT LET THE VIRUS IN. However I’ve not thought for one second what occurs if we get a case. We have to plan for the worst.

Friday 10 April

First fallout with the hospital immediately as a result of we didn’t need to settle for an individual into our nursing house and not using a damaging check. We defined our resolution. Now I’m simply ready for them to return again and finish our contract. I contacted the MP to let him know.

Saturday 11 April

Supply arrived from the CQC – a field of out-of-date masks and one protecting go well with (to share amongst our 27 workers).

Monday 20 April

The MP has replied. He mentioned that he’ll push for the check however that we must always comply with public well being recommendation and never block readmission of residents … nicely … fortunately I didn’t comply with his recommendation.

Monday 1 June

A coach got here immediately from the NHS – to coach our workers in the usage of PPE [personal protective equipment]!!??? Just a little too late.

Wednesday 17 June

It’s onerous to seek out the phrases to elucidate these previous few months. I’m nonetheless scared to demise realizing that something may occur to any of my residents, my workers or my household. To this point, we now have been fortunate. However this could change any time.



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