Ashfield care home boss reveals struggle for survival during Covid-19 pandemic

A Selston care home which tragically lost one third of its residents to Covid 19 in the devastating first wave of the pandemic has revealed how close it came to collapsing due to crippling PPE costs.

Care homes nationwide are facing a battle to stay in business due to a drastic fall in occupancy rates since the coronavirus crisis began 12 months ago.

And now Anita Astle who runs the award-winning Wren Hall Nursing Home on Nottingham Road, has lifted the lid on the troubles facing the industry – with many homes experiencing ‘significant vacancies’ which is impacting on their ‘financial viability’.

However, she says her Care Quality Commission outstanding-rated home has full occupancy and a waiting list – despite the turbulent times being experienced elsewhere in the sector.

Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston, which lost a third of its residents to Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.

“Some homes had a bad time in wave one and others wave two,” she said.

"For us in wave one, we sadly lost 16 of our 54 family members (residents) to Covid-19.

"A further seven who were Covid-positive died who were admitted to us from hospital in wave one.

"Locally, many homes lost approximately 20 to 30 per cent of those in their care.

“If it had not been for the Government coming in with funding and grants we would have had to close. The cost of PPE went through the roof – from £1,000 to £45,000.

"People think care homes are private sector and make lots of profit, maybe some of the corporate ones do, but it is not that like that at all for the small, local homes.

"The average small to medium businesses were just about breaking even before Covid – Covid on top and they were really struggling.

"We are getting help with PPE until June, but if it stops then, I am not sure what some homes will do – it has been very difficult for the care home sector.”

Anita also revealed there are factors other than Covid impacting on homes.

“Residential homes have particularly struggled to fill their vacant beds for two prime reasons, firstly, after Covid-19 people are looking for alternatives to residential care and secondly local authorities are committed to reducing admissions to long term care settings, favouring supporting people in their own homes wherever possible,” she said.