Care home managers fighting to keep their residents safe are also struggling to cope with new and rising costs triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) has needed to be sourced to protect staff and residents – with competition for limited stocks coming from all over the world.
Demand has also dramatically pushed up prices, with many suppliers accused of profiteering from the crisis.
It all comes at a time when carers and homes are striving to keep residents safe, while dealing with new ways of working, which has included ensuring residents are in regular contact with their families – despite the need to keep relatives away to protect vulnerable people from the virus.
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Lee Stringfellow owns Lovett Care which operates Hilton House, in Hartshill, and Goldendale Care Home, in Tunstall.
He said: “Yes, care homes are privately run, but our residents are vulnerable.
“We don’t normally supply masks and PPE, and the amount we have gone through since this started is horrific.
“At first it was a struggle to get PPE, but I’ve managed to get contacts now.
“The cost is atrocious, and the price has gone through the roof since this started.
“Fortunately it hasn’t come to it, but we were prepared to go into the red to get PPE, because the safety of our staff and residents is the most important thing.
“My worry now is that we have gone a couple of beds down. We have guaranteed beds for Covid-19 patients and put all the things in place we needed to, but those patients haven’t come.
“We have been at about 78 per cent occupancy.
“We are surviving, but there will probably be small care providers who won’t.”
Latest Public Health England figures show there have been a total of 104 suspected or confirmed Covid-19 outbreaks reported in care homes in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire between March 9 and May 10. That means 31 per cent of the area’s 335 care homes in the area have had cases.