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Care homes in the front line

A THIRD of all Scottish Coronavirus deaths occurred in care homes, with 300 people dying in the past week, says charity Age Scotland. They are calling for a redoubling of efforts to protect care home residents as the latest figures shows that 537 have died as a result of Covid-19. The leading charity for older people in Scotland has reiterated calls that care homes must not be treated as “second tier”, and more help is urgently needed to give staff and residents the protection they need. Vulnerable residents should have fair and equal access to medical treatment, and must not be “written off” if they contract the virus. The figures, published by the National Records of Scotland, found that 33 per cent of Covid-19 deaths occurred in care homes, a rise on last week's figure of a quarter. The number of care home deaths to date has more than doubled in a week, from 237 to 537. Fifty-six per cent of deaths occurred in hospitals and 10 per cent at home or in a non-institutional setting. Overall, almost three quarters of Covid-19 deaths involved people aged 75 and over. This week has seen further devastating outbreaks in Scottish care homes, including reports of 16 deaths at a Dumbarton home and 13 in Edinburgh. The charity has said that progress has been made in recent days in terms of more access to the necessary personal protective equipment and announcements of testing for all new care home entrants. Brian Sloan, Age Scotland's Chief Executive, said: “In the last week, we have heard about dozens of deaths in Dumbarton, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as the virus sweeps through homes in Scotland. It must be absolutely terrifying for residents, staff and families as they wonder where the next outbreak will be. “These are not just statistics – each one is a mother, father, grandparent, sibling or friend who will be deeply missed. “It is so important that older people in care homes or who are receiving social care in their own home are given every opportunity to get the medical treatment they need to beat this virus and are not written off. “Every person's life matters and many older people have made full recoveries with the right treatment. Decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, and any blanket policies based on a person's age or residence would be blatant discrimination. "We urgently need to redouble efforts to protect the most vulnerable people and ensure that care homes are not treated as a second tier. Staff on the front lines must be supported with access to all of the lifesaving equipment they need, as well as more widespread testing.” The call comes as Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership deployed to help support a care home in Lockerbie hit by Coronavirus. A spokesman said: "The combination of NHS nurses and domestic staff, local authority social work staff and administrators and a volunteer was assembled to ensure that staff and residents at Dryfemount Care Home received the help and support they needed." Graham Abrines is DGHSCP's General Manager for Community Health and Social Care, and he said: “As we've seen elsewhere in this country and around the world, care homes and their residents are among the most vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19. “When a number of residents and staff at Dryfemount tested positive for Covid-19, placing significant demands on the care home, Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership recognised this and moved very quickly to provide comprehensive support." A social media post from Stranraer's Belmont Care Home said they had "no suspected or confirmed cases" of Covid-19.

<< back Published: 22 Apr 2020, 13:31

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