Care home sees 13 patients recover from Covid-19 thanks to nurses' 'swine flu' experience

30 April 2020, 13:01 | Updated: 30 April 2020, 13:03

With concerns over Covid-19 in care homes high and Government experts warning the number of deaths is expected to be 'substantial' one facility has seen 13 patients recover from the deadly bug.

On Wednesday the UK's coronavirus national coronavirus testing co-ordinator Professor John Newton told LBC he expects a "substantial number" of people living in care homes will have died,

Church Farm at Skylarks, a specialist dementia care home, has successfully managed to contain an outbreak and ultimately, save lives.

The home has experienced 13 cases of coronavirus in recent weeks, with every single patient making a full recovery.

The care home has attributed this to the hard work of carers and staff, led by the head of nursing, Maria Spollin.

Maria worked as an intensive care nurse during the 2009 swine flu outbreak, so she was well-equipped to lead the team following doctors confirming five positive tests. 

ONS figures released on Tuesday showed around three in 10 of all Covid-19 deaths are now occurring in care homes.

13 residents have recovered from coronavirus at the Church Farm care home
13 residents have recovered from coronavirus at the Church Farm care home. Picture: Church Farm

A spokesperson for the facility said the care team was instructed to treat any resident with symptoms of coronavirus as having contracted the virus.

Family consent was acquired to isolate all those with the virus or showing symptoms.

Maria said: “This was, of course, a difficult decision to make as we had to consider that someone showing symptoms may not necessarily have contracted the virus, and if we opted to isolate them we would, therefore, be exposing them to the virus from those who tested positive."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

The nurse said it was "absolutely critical that we reacted quickly and incorporated these isolation measures as soon as possible.”

The care home staff set up ‘ward beds’, and an isolation area including chairs and activities to make sure that the residents didn’t have to remain bed-bound and could still engage with normal activities during the recovery phase.

The care home even created their own hair saloon to help residents
The care home even created their own hair saloon to help residents. Picture: Church Farm

Patrick Atkinson, director at the Church Farm Care group, said: “The crucial thing is to react and isolate quickly if you believe someone is symptomatic. Maria was instrumental in our containment process and in preventing further infection within our residents. Using her experience from the swine flu outbreak, she implemented a ‘zoning’ process, turning a communal area into a make-shift ward with beds after residents began showing symptoms.

“Many of our residents suffer from dementia, so it’s absolutely imperative that we look after their emotional needs as well. We are doing lots of different things across our four homes to keep everyone’s spirits high – from a socially distanced concert from a relative to opening our own in-house salon.”