Eighty-nine hospital patients who tested positive for coronavirus have been placed into care homes and other settings by Coventry City Council since April.
Hawthorne House Care Home in Tile Hill, which provides care for people with dementia and physical disabilities, has taken in 33 Covid-postive patients, while Mockley Manor Care Home in Warwickshire has taken one.
Myton Hospice in Warwick and Ellen Badger Hospital in Warwickshire have also been used by the authority to take in 54 Covid patients between June and August.
All have been designated as ‘blue bed’ areas with specific locations sectioned off for Covid-positive care home residents to complete their isolation period following hospital discharge.
Patients have arrived from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, South Warwickshire Hospital and George Eliot Hospital, and returned to their original care home once isolation is complete.
Director of Adult Services Pete Fahy said it helps free up hospital beds, however concern has been raised that families of residents living in the care homes have not been informed of the practice.
Cllr Rachel Lancaster told a health and social care scrutiny board last week that it had created ‘unnecessary worry’ amongst families.
She said: “I have had issues from residents that have had family members in homes where people who have had Covid have been returned to.
“Residents haven’t known about this because the issue is the care homes aren’t telling the residents and their families.”
She also claimed Covid-positive patients had been sent to other non-designated ‘blue bed’ care homes, although the city council has refuted this.
Mr Fahy said it is the responsibility of care homes to alert families, but he assured there has been “no issue whatsoever” of transmission to other patients.
He said: “Having them in specific locations helps manage the risk of onward transmission to other residents in care homes.
“If you have a set of blue beds together you can cohort Covid-19 patients into one part of one home, isolate them in that setting, and then when they are tested negative they can return back to their original care home.
“This is an important thing to keep hospital flow going over the winter so it will remain in place until the end of March when we review the position.”
A council spokesman said they had received a “very small number” of concerns about the scheme but that it posed no risk to existing care home residents.
They added: “A very small number of representations [have been] received which have been responded to and reassurance given but there is no evidence of any detrimental effect on existing residents or care home staff.”
Nationally the Department of Health and Social Care last month asked councils to identify suitable care homes to take Covid-19 patients in following hospital discharge, under the Winter Discharge Designation Settings scheme.
A council spokesman said they took action ‘much earlier’ to provide isolation beds to protect residents and staff from infection.
The number of patients sent to blue beds on behalf of Coventry council “fluctuates” weekly, Mr Fahy told the meeting, but as of today (Friday, November 13) there are three Covid patients in blue beds.
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