Care home bosses welcome proposed roll-out of rapid covid tests
- Credit: Iceni House
Care homes in Norfolk and Waveney have welcomed a government bid to roll out rapid coronavirus testing kits which would allow more visitors see their loved ones in the run up to Christmas.
An email has been sent this week from Norfolk County Council officials to care home bosses stating that lateral flow test kits, which can provide a result in approximately half an hour, will be provided in two waves through December.
An allocation of the kits would enable all visitors be tested each time they visit a resident - and it is expected that family members will be allowed hug and hold hands.
Joseph Greiner, manager of Burgh House, a residential care home near Great Yarmouth, expressed cautious welcome for the plan.
He said: "There is nothing we want more than for families to be back inside the walls of the care home, because they are such an important part of the care experience, but I am a little bit sceptical about the testing plans.
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"We need a bit more guidance from the government on how they expect things to be managed. It does need to be very clear guidance," he added.
"Of course we want the families to come to the home and be involved, no two ways about it, but it's just about managing the situation as best as we possibly can, for the benefit of the residents, who we have a duty of care to, and families and staff.
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"It must be done in the safest way possible," Mr Greiner said.
Ewa Kujawa, manager of Eversley care home in Great Yarmouth, said: “This will be the next step to make sure everybody is safe. It will be something positive, if we have additional testing."
Debbie McGovern, operations director at Kingsley health care, said: “It’s brilliant news. I don’t think the testing procedure will cause the care homes any problems."
Kingsley operates 31 homes, 20 of them in East Anglia, with 1,200 residents and 1,800 staff. They include centres in Norwich, Thetford, Great Yarmouth, Downham Market, Wroxham, Diss, Bungay and Lowestoft.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Ms McGovern said.
Steve Dorrington, who runs family-operated care homes in Dereham, Wells and Watton, said:"I'm in favour of it. I'd be very reluctant to stop people visiting. I welcome it with open arms. The sooner the better."