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18 May, 2020 13:29

‘It’s horrible because you can’t see them & hold their hand,’ daughter of Covid-19 victim tells RT amid UK nursing-home crisis

‘It’s horrible because you can’t see them & hold their hand,’ daughter of Covid-19 victim tells RT amid UK nursing-home crisis

A woman whose mother died in a UK nursing home after testing positive for Covid-19 has spoken to RT about the distressing circumstances of her mum’s death, as the government comes under fire for the staggering toll in care homes.

Michelle Rowland told RT that in March she had received a call from her mother Doreen’s nursing home in Kent, informing her that her 72-year-old mother had a high temperature and a cough.

“And then they advised me that she had a cough the day before as well. [I said] ‘these [signs] are very symptomatic of the coronavirus, or Covid-19. Has she been tested?’” Rowland said that the staff initially replied: “No, we're not testing.”

The nursing home later called again and told Rowland that Doreen had in fact tested positive for Covid-19. She immediately wanted to see her mother but, like many relatives of coronavirus patients, was not allowed to do so.

It’s really horrible because you can’t go and see them. You can’t hold their hand. You can't look after them. I had to pretty much blag my way to get to speak to my mom on the phone. That was the last time.

“We talked about the day we were looking forward to. When the weather was going to get warmer, we were going to get her in a chair and get her outside. She was so looking forward to it,” a visibly upset Rowland said, unable to hold back her emotions.

On Monday morning at 10 o’clock they called from the care home and said that Mom had passed away. They wanted to talk to me more, but I couldn’t.

Between December 28, 2019, and May 1, 2020 there were 12,526 deaths of nursing home residents in England and Wales which "involved" Covid-19, according to government data. More than 70 percent of these deaths occurred while the patients were still inside the nursing homes and not in hospitals. Moreover, 1,438 people had died in nursing homes in Scotland as of May 15, the BBC said.

Local media have been reporting for weeks that care providers had problems in getting supplies of adequate protective gear, such as masks and gloves, while 131 care workers have died from coronavirus-linked complications since the start of the outbreak.

Sally Warren, the head of the King's Fund think tank, pointed out that these "shocking figures" show that social care workers are twice as likely to die of Covid-19 as any other healthcare staff, including doctors and nurses. 

Also on rt.com ‘Nothing has changed’: WHO chief for Europe warns of SECOND wave of Covid-19 this winter as countries ease lockdown

The grim numbers have drawn sharp criticism from the opposition of the government's management of the protection of care homes in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Labour Party deputy chief Angela Rayner told the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday that the authorities have "terribly" let down nursing homes, and there may even be 10,000 more "unaccounted for" deaths in the care sector. She called for an investigation into the way the government has been handling the Covid-19 crisis in nursing homes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that although he “bitterly regrets” the dire situation in nursing homes, there had been “palpable improvement.” He dismissed Labour's accusations that he had reacted too slowly to the pandemic and failed to protect care providers, insisting that quarantine measures were imposed at nursing homes ahead of the nationwide lockdown.

UK authorities have had a “concerted action plan to tackle what has unquestionably been an appalling epidemic in care homes,” the PM argued.

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