“MHA treats the outbreak like the emergency it is, convening daily bronze, silver and gold command meetings modelled on emergency service disaster responses.”

Today (9 April 2020), Methodist Homes (MHA) feature in The Guardian on a story highlighting both the impact of and approach we have adopted in dealing with coronavirus across our services. We are also mentioned in a story in the same paper on the under-reporting of coronavirus related deaths in care homes by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). 

We took the decision to grant social affairs journalist Rob Booth access to our internal approach and speak to care home manager Julie Roche who has managed an outbreak of the virus in her home. This has shone a light on the very real challenges that are being faced on a daily basis, not just in our homes but by all social care providers across the UK. 

These challenges heightened by the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for the sector that has been described by our chief executive Sam Monaghan as ‘the second front line’. 

We hope that families and our residents are reassured by the Critical Incident Management approach that we are taking. As described in the article, we have live dashboard data covering every MHA home and service across the UK. We convene three daily meetings taking rapid decisions to re-allocate PPE stock across regions, staff cover and analyse the spread of the virus across our services taking immediate appropriate action; this includes suspected, confirmed and recovered cases. 

It is a desperately sad fact that many of our homes will lose beloved residents who are part of the MHA family. A small number of our homes have already been badly affected, although the extent to which these losses can be attributed to Covid-19 is debatable as our residents are not being tested. Without that testing, we may never know the true extent of outbreaks in our homes. 

But what is heartening is that we are seeing residents who have confirmed or suspected Covid-19 are recovering in our homes and continuing to receive the high quality from our dedicated teams.

Julie is just one of our thousands of dedicated people who are going above and beyond each and every day. The work they are doing is amazing. Our residents are a second family to them and this will take its toll on our teams as they sadly lose people they have cared for, in some cases for a number of years. We will make sure we care for our colleagues as well as our residents throughout all of this and would urge you to support us and our colleagues at this difficult time.

As we have said from the beginning of this pandemic, as one of the largest and longest established providers of care in the UK, it is incumbent on MHA to speak up for our residents, our colleagues and the sector. 

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