Routine testing launched after 54 deaths at care homes

A multi-agency group has been established in response to the number of deaths at care homes in Fife.

Routine testing launched after 54 deaths at care homes Pixabay

A multi-agency group has been launched in response to the number of deaths at care homes in Fife linked to coronavirus.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 54 Covid-related deaths across the region’s care homes.

This includes 14 deaths at Methven House in Kirkcaldy since the beginning of April.

To provide enhanced support to reduce the spread of the virus, a range of measures have been introduced:

  • A new Care Home Oversight Group has been established, bringing together NHS Fife’s Health Protection Team, Health and Social Care Partnership, Scottish Care and the Care Inspectorate. This group will oversee the provision of additional resources such as personal protective equipment (PPE), provide rapid testing where it is needed and offer expert guidance and support to Fife’s care homes.
  • All of those admitted to a care home from their own home will now be tested before or on admission to a care home and will be cared for in isolation for 14 days thereafter. 
  • All consenting staff and residents in care homes where Covid-19 is known to be present will be tested regardless of whether or not they are displaying symptoms. A mobile Covid-19 testing team will support the effort.
  • The Health and Social Care Partnership’s district nursing team will also visit residential care homes as part of their clinical duties. In addition to assessing whether homes need any additional resources such as PPE or staffing, they will also support the homes with infection prevention and control. 
  • Care homes with outbreaks will receive additional regular support from the Health Protection Team in Fife.

Dona Milne, NHS Fife’s director of public health, said: “We know that care home residents are amongst the most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus and it is crucial that we do all that we can to support our local care homes during this pandemic.

“There has been a considerable multi-agency effort over recent weeks to put a network of support in place for local care homes and assist in the prevention and management of local outbreaks of Covid-19.

“The testing of individuals for covid-19 is a crucial element of the approach to tackling the virus in Fife and this has been expanded considerably over recent weeks to support care homes in limiting the spread of the virus.” 

Colin Smart, the owner of Methven House, welcomed the additional support.

He added: “Following the recent deaths of 14 of our residents, our sincere condolences go out to all family and friends who have lost a loved one.

“Methven House is a family, and any loss has a big impact on our staff too. 

“Throughout this pandemic our staff have been amazing, going above and beyond in the most difficult of circumstances, placing residents’ welfare at the heart of everything they do.”

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