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Coronavirus: Malnutrition fears for care home patients

Published: 24th March 2020

The manager of a Weston-Super-Mare care home says her residents are at risk of malnutrition because of food shortages caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlfield Lodge, which houses people on end-of-life care and those suffering from dementia, is dependent on delivered food and medication.

But the home said its wholesalers have been unable to bring it enough supplies.

Staff have had to leave their jobs to go and find food, it added.

Dr Claire Mould, CEO of Cintre which runs the home, said many residents had specialist diets, would only eat certain things or relied on blended meals.

"It's absolutely insane that we are having to prop up our wholesale delivery," she said.

"Our frontline staff shouldn't really be going out and we can't ask family and friends to bring food in."

'Nobody has answers'

The care home, which has about 50 residents, was hoping for a full food delivery on Friday but only half the normal order arrived.

Dr Mould said: "We're having to explain to residents why their families can't come to visit, why the hairdresser can't come, why the external entertainment isn't coming in, and now having to explain that, the meal they might have enjoyed on Sunday - they aren't going to be able to have that either."

Dr Mould said her biggest fear was not the coronavirus but that her residents would start suffering from malnutrition.

"Coronavirus is something we can manage. I can risk assess it, I can put measures in place, but if we can't get the right sustenance to the individuals we're caring for, what then?" she said.

"Nobody has any answers at the moment."

Dr Mould said local authorities were trying to help but there was little they could do in regards to food distribution.

The BBC contacted North Somerset Council for a comment.

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