Care home with no coronavirus cases shut doors before lockdown

Since the UK went in to lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, many residents and staff in local care homes across the country, like many others groups, have been affected.

In Merseyside alone, a number of care homes have been devastated by cases and coronavirus deaths, leaving families in mourning and taking its toll on adult social care in the region.

And whilst residents and adult social care workers are facing more pressure and strain in these tough circumstances, some care homes are yet to report any cases linked to the disease.

One care home in Huyton, Montgomery Care Home on Bluebell Lane, has not had any cases of Covid-19 and said it believes it is one of two care homes in the borough of Knowsley to be in this position.

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We spoke to the Huyton care home to hear about the impact the pandemic has had on residents and staff's day-to-day life.

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Montgomery Care Home is a 25-bedded home that cares for elderly residents who have dementia and currently has 22 residents and 23 members of staff who work there.

Before the government announced that new measures were being introduced to put the UK in a state of lockdown on March 23, Montgomery, as well as three other local care homes under the same group, closed their doors.

Registered Manager, Jeanette Johnston, said: "We actually closed doors here on March 12 before the national lockdown.

"We did contact all family members to make everyone aware and they were all fantastic and supportive and did understand the reasons and that it was to protect their loved ones.

Resident Mr Joseph Forrester and a number of staff at Montgomery Care Home on Bluebell Lane, Huyton.

"It has been hard because our residents are used to seeing their families and because they have dementia they can’t understand why they are having to speak to them on the phone or Skype.

"They don't understand what this is. They can get anxious, upset and agitated because they can't understand why they're not here."

Jeanette said staff have continued the standard of hygiene, health and routine that they have always had, wearing correct PPE equipment as well as now regularly cleaning door handles, surfaces and other items every half an hour.

Last weekend, all staff tested negative for coronavirus and the care home has ensured residents returning from hospital have been tested.

Jeanette said: "I just want to praise the staff and the families, they have been fantastic and so supportive."

In the early stages of the pandemic, Jeanette said the atmosphere in the care home had changed and whilst updates and circumstances surrounding others across the country is still being reported, her staff are determined to keep doing what they are doing.

Jeanette said: "At the very beginning, the first four weeks, the atmosphere had changed.

"The morale of both residents and staff had gone down quite a lot, but it has improved. The atmosphere in the care home has gone up, everyone is happy and smiley which is good to see.

"I know care homes in the area who have gone through it and my heart bleeds for them.

"My staff are just taking it each day and I said to them to continue what we’re doing and I’m so proud of them.

"We’re not doing anything different, I just think we've been so lucky."

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Jeanette praised staff and families for their continued support and said they are grateful for all donations and gifts received from families, artwork from local children, poems by Roby Predators FC and face visors from LLT PPE (Lydiate Learning Trust).

Mr Joseph Forrester, 87, has lived at Montgomery since it opened in January 2017.

He said: "Staff are taking really good care of me and I'm happy and feel safe.

"It is my birthday on Friday and even though I can’t spend the day with my family I know the staff will make it special.”