IN a week dominated by headlines about how badly coronavirus is affecting care homes around the country, one specialist dementia care home in Nottingham has successfully managed to contain an outbreak and ultimately, save lives.
Church Farm at Skylarks (West Bridgford, Nottingham) has experienced 13 cases of coronavirus in recent weeks, with every single patient making a full recovery thanks to the hard work of carers and staff, led by the head of nursing, Maria Spollin.
Maria has years of experience in the care sector but was also working 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. After this, 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. But it was absolutely critical that we reacted quickly and incorporated these isolation measures as soon as possible.”
As well as setting up ‘ward beds’, the isolation area also included 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.
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.”