A CARE home manager has called for testing to be made available to the families of residents in order to enable safe visits while the coronavirus vaccine is rolled out.
The conditions needed to store the newly approved vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech mean that it will only be available at first in central hubs, which residents will be unable to travel to.
In the interim, Kevin Edwards, manager of Meddyg Care which has homes in Criccieth and Porthmadog, has called for testing to be made available to family members wishing to visit homes. While this is available in England, it isn’t in Wales.
Kevin said: “Our primary focus is to keep the residents safe.”
“I think the sooner we can get the residents vaccinated, the better, as that will mean we can facilitate visits securely.
“From what I understand it’s not going to be for residents because of the transportation and temperature issues.
“I believe in our local area they’ll be looking to get care home workers vaccinated, and we’ll encourage staff to take that up.
“That will allow us to have peace of mind for that staff won’t be bringing it into the home; they’ve had to be very, very careful for the past nine months.
“However, I’ve got so much information coming in hour by hour, until I’ve actually got something concrete, we will just keep on doing what we’re doing.”
The lack of testing for those wishing to visit homes mean that visits, while permitted in Wales, are not something Kevin is willing to consider on safety grounds.
In addition, if a resident were to contract Covid-19 on-site and pass away, the company would be put at risk as there is no liability insurance that can protect them in the event of a civil case being brought against them.
Kevin added: “Unfortunately in this instance, what happens in England isn’t what happens in Wales.
“What’s muddying the waters, is that the Welsh Government have released the data and say the care home visit can resume if the visitor has it. So we are going to stay keeping Covid secure.
“One thing we’re missing is don’t have access to visitor testing in Wales like they do over the border, so a family member can show they don’t have the virus.
“Those would be my two priorities, get the residents vaccinated and get testing facilities for families.
“In Wales, we don’t have insurance in the event we are pursued by the family because a resident passed away because of COVID-19. So the government can give us the green light to facilitate visits but we don’t have insurance to protect us if things go wrong.
“It could threaten the future of the business, even if we’re doing all the right things. By allowing the visits without testing we are opening up to catastrophe.”
For more information visit https://meddygcare.co.uk