Midlothian care home had second highest Covid-19 related death rate in Scotland
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Thornlea Nursing Home in Loanhead had 16 deaths – either confirmed or suspected to have been caused by the virus – between March 16 2020 and March 31 this year, the equivalent of 48.5 Covid related deaths per hundred places at its 33 bed facility.
Earlier this month, it emerged residents at the nursing home were found to have experienced “unnecessary harm and suffering” due to their health needs being neglected. The Care Inspectorate deemed Thornlea to be ‘unsatisfactory’ - the worst rating on a six point scale - in all areas of inspection to evaluate how well people were being supported during the pandemic.
The December inspection highlighted concerns that people who were unwell and nearing the end of their life were not being given appropriate palliative care.
Inspectors also identified “very serious concerns” with infection prevention and control practices. For example, staff were not seen cleaning their hands after each episode of care or after removing PPE and clinical waste was also seen in overflowing waste bins that were not locked.
The report also questioned staff competency and said that management support was lacking.
Operator Thornlea Nursing Homes Ltd has since gone into liquidation and the nursing home has been permanently closed since January 18, when its remaining residents were moved to alternative accommodation by Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership.
Lomond Court Nursing Home in Glenrothes recorded the highest Covid-19 related death rate in Scotland with 52.5 deaths per 100 places. A total of 21 Covid-19 related deaths were recorded at the 44-bed facility.
The care home with the highest actual number of Covid-19 related deaths in Scotland is the 180 bed Erskine Home in Renfrewshire which recorded 33 deaths.
Victoria Manor Nursing Home, also larger in size with 118 beds, had the highest total number of Covid related deaths of any care home in Edinburgh with 25. This was the tenth highest number of Covid linked deaths in the country.
The Care Inspectorate figures, published on May 26 following a FOI ruling, show the rate of residents dying from Covid-19 was higher in larger care homes than smaller ones in Scotland.
Data shows there were 2.1 virus deaths per 100 places in care homes with up to 20 beds, compared to 12.6 deaths per 100 places in homes with more than 80 beds.
It also shows care homes located in the most populated areas were worst hit than those in more rural areas, with 11.6 deaths per 100 places in large urban areas compared to 3.7 per 100 in small towns.
A Care Inspectorate spokesperson said:“We know from our inspections and our experience of the pandemic that the relationship between the quality of care experienced by people in care homes, and the impact of Covid-19, is complex.
“We know that any care service can be affected by Covid-19 and that residents of care homes were tragically particularly vulnerable to the virus. We also know that the quality of care experienced by residents did not necessarily provide an indicator of the risks in relation to the virus.
“Our findings relating to care homes indicate there may be relationships between a high number of deaths related to Covid-19 and size of service and geographical location, including urban or rural settings.
“We continue to undertake analysis to help us better understand what we can learn from these findings to support quality improvement within the care sector.
"The Care Inspectorate has worked closely with care providers, the Scottish Government and partners to support care services to respond to and recover from the pandemic and continues to do so.”
The care watchdog received 3,774 notifications of deaths related to Covid-19 from care homes between March 16 2020 and March 31 this year. This includes people who died at a care home and residents who died in hospital.
All care homes in Scotland are required to report the deaths of residents to the Care Inspectorate.
There have been more than 10,100 Covid-related deaths in Scotland, about a third of which have been in care homes.
As of March 31, there were 1,069 care homes in Scotland.