“No evidence” of a link between hospital discharges and the Covid outbreak in nursing homes in Stockton

A STOCKTON study found no evidence of a connection between hospital discharges to district nursing homes and Covid infections among residents.

Stockton Council reports show there have been at least 170 Covid-related deaths in nursing homes in the district since the pandemic began.

There were major concerns about how many residents got the virus after being released into homes without testing during the first few weeks of the pandemic.

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But now, an investigation by Stockton’s Special Committee on Social Welfare and Health for Adults has found no evidence of a link between hospital discharge to a nursing home and Covid infection of residents.

The review also found no evidence of a link between ratings of nursing homes and outbreaks at Stockton facilities, and no evidence of a correlation between a nursing home’s CQC rating and Covid death rate.

The report added, “It was likely that the high rates of Covid-19 in the community had an impact on the number of deaths in a nursing home (not the actions of a nursing home itself).”

The Government and Public Health England introduced routine coronavirus testing for hospital patients discharged to nursing homes on April 15, 2020.

Previously, however, the guidelines on hospital discharges stated that negative tests were “not required” before being transferred or admitted to a home.

The numbers show that between March 1 and April 15, a total of 489 patients from North Tees and South Tees hospitals were discharged to nursing homes without Covid testing.

Investigations by the community council showed that the average time from discharge to the first initial infection in a district home was 49 days.

The report said: “Of the 30 nursing homes that reported Covid cases, six nursing homes were fired after their first reported case – so the virus must have entered the area by other means. And 23 were not discharged from the hospital a week before their first reported case. Therefore, almost all Covid-19 cases in nursing homes could not be traced back to a hospital discharge. ”

Committee chairman Cllr Evaline Cunningham told the executive’s most recent audit committee that the review looked at data and pulled out some “surprising statistics”.

She added: “The committee was also made aware of the excellent work done in our nursing homes during this difficult time.”

The review praised the efforts made by nursing homes and city officials during the crisis. It reads: “What is clear is that the actions of the council and its partners in collaboration with local nursing home providers have helped alleviate an unprecedented situation that the health and care sector has never experienced.”

The Council Presidents were also surprised by the results of the report at their latest cabinet meeting.

Cabinet minister for Culture, Leisure and Health Cllr Jim Beall said the review drew some “counterintuitive conclusions” based on the evidence found.

He added, “There are a few myths – or people think about what they have read and heard in various other places.

“But the evidence that the committee heard and reached its conclusions is contained in it.

“I found it very reassuring that the high rates in the community most likely had more of an impact on nursing homes than hospital transfers and other things.

“That was very instructive.”

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