Published On: Fri, May 22nd, 2020

‘Not worthy of a test?’: UK family unable to find closure after beloved grandma dies in care home during Covid-19 pandemic

The elderly are people too, but the UK authorities forgot that when they prioritized the NHS over care homes amid the coronavirus outbreak, a grieving relative told RT. Her late mom-in-law couldn’t even get a Covid-19 test.

“We put her in a nursing home to keep her safe,” Dawn Hopkins from Cheshire said of her mother-in-law and the grandmother of her children. But, tragically, things took a completely different turn, with the old lady passing away at the care facility after apparently becoming infected with Covid-19.

There’s a 99.9 percent chance that the coronavirus was to blame for her death, but there’s no – and never will be – absolute certainty of the diagnosis. “It states Covid-19 on a death certificate; it also states lower respiratory tract infection – because she was never tested, it’s always going to be a question of was it definitely Covid-19 that she passed away from?” Dawn pointed out.

“We’re still grieving and we don’t think we’re able to grieve properly” due to not knowing what really happened, she added.

Dawn said that the family was insisting on their loved one being tested for the deadly virus, which has killed more than 328,000 people around the globe – including 36,000 in the UK alone. “But the care home wasn’t doing tests” and when a general practitioner was also approached on the issue, she replied that “they weren’t testing in nursing homes” either, Dawn recalled.

It’s almost like she wasn’t worthy to have a test.

The late grandma was 92 and suffered from dementia, but was still enjoying life. “She was able to recognize us,” Dawn said. “She loved to laugh. We used to take her out a lot and she’d always have a sherry or half a lager. She enjoyed the food and the company of her family – and that’s been taken away now.”

“It really wasn’t her time to die,” Dawn insisted, adding that if the family had known their grandma had actually contracted Covid-19 they would have made other choices regarding her treatment. The elderly woman developed a high fever on April 9 and stayed in the nursing home as her condition deteriorated, passing away less than two weeks later.

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“The government has let the nursing homes badly down. I don’t think they’ve given them clear guidance on how to manage and to keep the residents safe during this pandemic,” her devastated daughter-in-law said.

Staff at the Clarendon Court nursing home were doing their best to treat the grandma and all of their other charges, Dawn said, but they just didn’t know what they were dealing with. As a result, the same caregivers worked on all the floors at the facility, she said, instead of being assigned to a group of patients on a single floor, which facilitated the spread of the virus. The lack of personal protection equipment was also a major issue, Dawn pointed out.

The infection spread like wildfire across the nursing home, resulting in immense casualties throughout its wards. “There were a lot of cases. A staff member told us that 17 residents out of 55 passed away,” Dawn said. Earlier this week, the BBC reported that there were more than 11,600 fatalities in British nursing homes during the pandemic.

The UK government’s strategy of prioritizing the NHS over care homes was wrong, Dawn said. The elderly should have been treated just like all the other patients because they’re people too; “because it’s somebody’s mom, or nana, or great grandma,” she pointed out.

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Dawn has called for the UK authorities to be held accountable. “There needs to be an inquest. They need to look into why so many residents in care homes have passed away due to this.”

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