Sheffield care home chief hails staff for ‘performing miracles’ during coronavirus crisis

A Sheffield care home boss has said her staff are ‘performing miracles’ during the coronavirus pandemic – but they feel ‘overlooked’.

By Michael Broomhead
Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 9:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 2:17 pm

Nicola Richards, the director of Palms Row Health Care, which operates three nursing homes in the city, has given a harrowing account of the difficulties she and her workers are facing during the crisis.

She told Sky News: “Care homes across the country are fighting for residents’ lives like never before.

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Newfield Nursing Home in Heeley is one of the sites operated by Palms Row Health Care.

“Words cannot describe how difficult the conditions are on the frontline as COVID-19 spreads into our homes, affecting residents and staff.

“Many of my frontline carers have admitted to being terrified and I can’t say I blame them.

“The three care homes I manage in Sheffield are now in the peak of this crisis and I’ve never seen a situation like this in my 20 years of working in the care sector.

“We have had a number of Covid-19 cases in two of our homes which have very sadly resulted in deaths due to the extremely aggressive nature of this virus, particularly on older people.

“In addition to this, while we are still managing to keep staffing levels safe, 20 per cent of our workforce are off work due to either testing positive or experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

“We have been fortunate enough to get access to personal protective equipment (PPE) from our local NHS hospital trust and, after I wrote to local councillors and spoke to local media, some from the council.

“We are running dangerously low on supplies.”

Nicola added: “We’re not shying away from the fact that our job will be tougher than ever.

“Our staff are performing miracles every day, keeping residents as safe and comfortable as they possibly can.

“But contrary to national Government platitudes, we are the Cinderella sector and we are being overlooked.

“We need improved PPE, greater access to testing, support to allow faster recruitment of new staff and volunteers, simplification of communication from Government bodies as well as financial and moral support from local authorities and politicians.”