SVDP staff member tests positive for coronavirus, dementia ward cancels visits

Social Care Standards Authority to move St Joseph Home residents testing negative to coronavirus to Casal Nuovo

Family visits to a dementia ward in St. Vincent De Paul residence for the elderly have been cancelled for two weeks, after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

The residence’s management placed the JP2 ward in “preventive quarantine” after a staff member tested positive yesterday. Family members of the residents were told that this was just a precaution and that all staff and residents would be tested for COVID-19 in the coming days.

The infected staff member was wearing a mask and a visor and had only seen four patients, family members were told.

The news comes as a setback to relatives of elderly residents in the ward, some of whom said they had found it gradually more difficult to make appointments over the past few days.

“First they started taking calls for bookings on Mondays only,” one relative who asked not to be named, said. “Then it became alternate Sundays and now they are back on lockdown.”

Yesterday the Social Care Standards Authority said it was consulting with public health authorities to put into force the necessary measures and protocols targeting residential homes for older persons.

“Apart from the continuous preventive measures being announced and the protocols which were announced a few days ago, the Social Care Standards Authority still continued doing home inspections. In fact, from January to September 2020, it has conducted a total of 1,012 visits in residential homes for older persons. Such enforcement and monitoring visits will continue to take place in order to ensure compliance and adherence to protocols and standards of care,” the authority said, after a home for the elderly, St Joseph Home, revealed a sizeable number of its elderly population had contracted the virus.

Over 14,500 swab tests have been conducted for residents and staff hailing in residential homes since June.

In terms of containment, it is now planned that once a new positive case is identified, the resident is moved out of the residential home and placed at Sir Paul Boffa Hospital or St Thomas Hospital as an interim measure or at Mater Dei Hospital.

“This will depend on the resident’s condition after a doctor’s examination. Such a measure will enter into force in the eventuality of positive COVID-19 cases found in a different residential home from the ones currently active. The measurements of the transfer of positive Covid-19 residents from care homes will be done through an approved protocol,” the authority said.

The residents at St Joseph Home who tested positive and those in quarantine will remain within the residential home, while the residents who have been tested negative will be moved to Casal Nuovo. The latter home will have a coverage of several beds through an SCSA Emergency Licence.

“These residents from this home will be in preventive quarantine and will be undergoing nasopharyngeal swab testing every three days. Additional beds will be made available from St James Hospital for the same aforementioned purpose. The policy attached for the relocation of the residents will be followed.”

More in National