Coronavirus outbreaks are up to 20 times more common in large care homes, according to the largest study of its kind in the UK.
Researchers at Edinburgh University found that the risk of an outbreak was as low as 5 percent in homes with fewer than 20 residents.
But for facilities for more than 60 older people, it rose between 83 and 100 percent, according to the scientists.
More visitors and a revolving door of health workers, often temporary workers who plow in other houses, would be the driving factor behind the increased risk.
The finding will put more pressure on ministers to set out a clear strategy for how they want to protect health care facilities in the event of a second wave of Covid-19 in winter.
In the absence of protection for Britain’s most vulnerable people during the first outbreak, nearly 30,000 nursing home residents have died of the disease.
At the height of the crisis, 25,000 hospital patients were discharged from care homes without testing for Covid-19, allowing them to pass it on to staff and vulnerable residents.
Virus-Free Home: Temple Grove Staff and Karen Emery. Nearly 30,000 more care home residents died during the pandemic in England and Wales compared to the same period in 2019, including a third who did not have the virus
Researchers analyzed 189 care homes in the NHS Lothian area in Scotland, where a total of more than 400 people died from the disease.
The data – not yet published – found the chance of case clusters tripled with every 20 extra beds.
The study is believed to be the broadest analysis to date of coronavirus cases in care homes in the UK.
Large care homes inevitably have more staff, which increases the risk of infection in the homes.
They also depend on agency workers who often work between different houses and are therefore exposed to a greater proportion of vulnerable residents.
Care homes receive £ 1,000 ‘bribes’ for taking in hospital patients to make beds
Difficult care homes received a £ 1,000 cash incentive to hospitalize patients to make beds, it appears.
To qualify for payment, the home had to admit the patient within 24 hours, regardless of whether or not they had coronavirus.
Sixteen houses accepted the offer from Birmingham City Council.
It’s because last week Boris Johnson insisted that the “last” thing he’d wanted to do was to blame caregivers for death in homes, while the divide over responsibility for the crisis continued.
Birmingham City Council said the incentive of £ 1,000, from a £ 5 million pot, would be to help pay for any additional costs, including extra personal protective equipment, extra staff and cleaning, so that Covid-19 patients could be isolated .
But a nursing home manager who declined the money said she is sure this is one of the reasons none of her residents got infected.
Jane Farr, who runs the Covid-free care home Digby Manor in Erdington, told the Birmingham Mail: “No one could be sure those people didn’t have Covid-19. I’m sure it was one of the reasons we haven’t had cases. ‘
Thousands of nursing home residents died during the crisis due to a lack of personal protective equipment and the urge to fire NHS patients without testing them first.
The prime minister opposed yesterday to apologize for comments saying that the death toll was so high because “too many care homes” were not following proper procedures.
And he got more criticism by saying “we just didn’t know” about asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus, despite warnings going back to January.
Boris Johnson told the Commons that the government took responsibility during the outbreak, but said the understanding of the coronavirus had changed “dramatically” in recent months.
He said the government now has aspects of how the coronavirus is transmitted between people without symptoms “that we didn’t know before.”
However, minutes from the Scientific Emergency Group (Sage) on January 28 clearly mentioned asymptomatic transmission, warning that “early indications imply something is happening.”
Homes with a large number of residents also take in more visitors, which also increase the risk of bringing in the disease.
Professor Bruce Guthrie, director of Edinburgh University’s Advanced Care Research Center and lead author of the report, said the Guardian: ‘More visitor numbers give more chance of infection.
“While the size of a nursing home cannot be changed without losing space for existing residents, it may be possible to create discrete units in nursing homes where smaller numbers of staff and residents are effectively merged to create self-contained units.”
The average care home in the UK is home to about 35 residents. But HC-One, Britain’s largest provider of private care homes, has an average of 50 beds, The Guardian reports.
About 26 residents died in 87-bed Melbury Court in Durham, and 22 died in the Highgate nursing home near Glasgow, which is home to 80 residents.
HC-One admitted that a large number of staff in larger houses increased the risk of infections, but insisted it had emphasized ways to reduce it.
Liz Whyte, the company’s director of standards, said, “In a large shift, you can create smaller shifts, accommodate your staff, and work safely with shared kitchen and laundry staff.
“That is now appropriate. Until there is a cure, we should work as if we have an outbreak. ‘
It comes after Care England, which represents 4,000 health care providers, warns that Boris Johnson must keep its promise to resolve the care crisis to avoid endangering thousands of vulnerable residents.
Care England states in his letter: “With a second wave on the horizon, it is imperative that the government now solve the grim crisis in social care.
“With such a large majority in Parliament, now is the time to put an end to all the slowness of the past and make changes.”
It has been almost a year since Mr. Johnson pledged to “solve the social care crisis once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and safety they deserve.”
But in the past 12 months, neither Mr. Johnson nor the Secretary of Health and Social Affairs Matt Hancock has revealed anything more about their plan.
Last week, the prime minister caused anger by suggesting that nursing homes were responsible for their death toll from not following proper procedures.
The letter from Car England said, “It was outrageous to try to blame the tens of thousands of tragic deaths in nursing homes on the people who sought to protect them. It is misleading and unfair to choose healthcare providers, when in reality the social care sector was abandoned to give priority to the NHS.
“Failure to protect nursing homes has confused the entire industry. More consultation, research, rhetoric and the like is not necessary. We are tired of procrastination; it is a shame that this pandemic has shown the nation what an important sector we are, but we must seize this opportunity and make changes, because future generations will never forgive us. ‘
Labor health spokesman Liz Kendall, supporting Care England’s letter, said: “Boris Johnson promised to solve the social care crisis and needs to go a step further now.
“Instead of blaming nursing homes and staff who took care of their residents, the Prime Minister should take responsibility for the actions of the government and learn from his mistakes.”
Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said that the coronavirus crisis “exposed the systemic deficiencies that have long endangered care.”
Fiona Carragher, of the Alzheimer’s Society, added that care homes and patients with dementia had been “unforgivably abandoned” during the pandemic.
A government spokesman said, “We are doing everything we can to support nursing homes.” They emphasized that repeat tests had been introduced, along with ‘significant’ funding, including £ 600 million to improve infection control, and 156 million personal protective equipment. ‘