The government is under fire for not implementing widespread testing at care homes across the country – and carers have spoken about a shortage of protective equipment.
Sky News’ Lisa Holland spoke to one such carer, who wished to remain anonymous, about their experience during the outbreak, and why they are refusing to go to work. This is their story:
We have to be using aprons and gloves, bin bags and all sorts of things because there are suspected cases of COVID-19 in our home – and none of the staff that work with these people have got protective gear.
It’s not safe, and you feel bad for the people you care for and the people you go in to look after every day – they’re like your family and you’re not getting the proper equipment to look after them.
It’s not an easy job – we feel as if we have been neglected.
Nobody gets tested in the care home – the residents haven’t been tested and the staff haven’t been tested, so it’s a high, high risk. It’s a risk for yourself, for other patients and for your family as well.
Lots of people will die unnecessarily because they haven’t been tested, and staff haven’t got the proper gear that they’re supposed to be wearing.
If you’ve not been tested and patients haven’t been tested, and you’re dealing with someone who you feel has a high temperature or a nasty cough, you could be carrying it around as well – and you’re catching whatever they’ve got and spreading it in the home.
We’ve got staff who have family who have underlying illnesses, who have young children to go home to. If we are going into a room with people who have got it and going into another room, everyone’s going to die.
It’s really, really bad.
Not only have none of the staff and residents been tested – they’re still bringing in people from hospital to come into the home, and we’re not sure if they’ve been tested as well.
I am refusing to go back to work until they improve this whole situation because I am not going to risk myself and my family at the moment.
The residents are very vulnerable at the moment, the way that we are leaving them, and if something isn’t done for the care homes really quickly, God forbid, people inside them are going to die.
The government needs to do more for the care home residents and the care home staff because we are frontline workers and need to be looked after just as much as everybody else.
We know we have a duty of care to provide and we want to do our job to the best of our ability – but if we haven’t got the proper gear, we’re not going to risk ourselves as well.
It’s sad because the people we care and look after are like our own families. That’s the way we treat them. We love our job and want to be there to support them and they are very vulnerable at the moment.