Covid-19 positive resident removed from Garden Court sheltered housing

A resident at Garden Court sheltered housing complex in Rothschild Rd has been moved to a hospital following complaints from fellow residents “terrified” to leave their rooms after the man was returned there from hospital last week. He was both Covid-19 positive and thought to be suffering from dementia. They sought help from Ealing Council when he was found wandering the corridors a couple of days later.

The Chiswick Calendar spoke to two residents at Garden Court who witnessed an ambulance arrive on Wednesday 8 April, returning one of the people who lived there after he’d been treated for Covid-19 at Charing Cross hospital. One of them told The Chiswick Calendar that the hospital transport crew, wearing protective clothing, asked if they could drop him off in the communal lounge area of the sheltered accommodation, as his room was locked and he didn’t have his keys. They told the residents he was Covid-19 positive.

Another resident, Bill, asked them to stay outside until they could get hold of Careline, who manage the property on behalf of Ealing Council. Although the block of flats is ‘sheltered’ and has 40 residents over the age of 60, there is no warden on site. Careline took an hour to come, according to Bill. He and his neighbour were shocked that there appears to have been no communication or arrangement made for the man’s reception or care management.

When eventually they arrived and the transport crew brought him in, they disinfected their vehicle before they left and the Careline worker, himself wearing Personal Protective Equipment, settled the man in his room, but no attempt was made to clean the public area through which he’d passed to get to his flat.

‘Found wandering the corridors’

His neighbours’ anxiety was increased when one of them found him wandering the corridors with his trousers round his ankles on the evening of Friday 10 April. The Chiswick Calendar was sent a picture of him holding his stick in one hand and holding on to the communal handrail with the other.

They contacted the housing officer at Ealing Council responsible for Garden Court.

‘The response from the neighbourhood manager for the Acton hub took hours and was really disappointing’ said Bill. ‘More concerned with the patient’s confidentiality than the fact he has a deadly virus and ignoring the safety of the other 38 residents within this Scheme, most of whom are very vulnerable’.

The residents were “terrified” that they would catch the Coronavirusit, the neighbour told us. They were “too afraid to leave their rooms”. Many of the residents, who are all over 60, have had strokes or heart attacks or been treated for cancer.

Bill and his neighbour told us they’d also seen the man’s carers leave items such as waste from his room left in the communal trash and communal laundry. Some of his carers were wearing PPE, but others not, they said, and those that have been wearing the kit have disposed of it in the communal waste. “There are bits of apron left there and no other carers use that particular room”.

Response from LB Ealing

We contacted Ealing Council to ask a number of important questions that arise from this case.

Why was there no arrangement made between the hospital and the local authority for the return of someone with Covid-19 to sheltered housing accommodation?

Why have the residents been fobbed off by council officers with assurances that this man is self-isolating when they know he isn’t?

Why is there not someone on site to help during this emergency period?

Why was he not moved to somewhere equipped to deal with people who don’t have the mental capacity to understand self-isolation?

Would he now be re-tested to put the other residents’ mind at rest?

This is the response we had from an Ealing Council spokesperson on Friday 17 April:

“Ealing Council does not comment on the individual and private information of any of its tenants, and is not in a position to comment on any clinical decisions in relation to any private person.

“At this highly unusual time, with community transmission of Covid-19 a real a present threat, we continue to support our tenants who are able to live independently and to shield with the support of family, friends, carers and volunteers. Our sheltered housing schemes are designed to allow social isolation, and our teams are available 24/7 through our Careline service to provide support”.

Later that day one of the residents who’d talked to us last week, who herself has a chronic heart condition, phoned us to say her Covid-19 positive neighbour had been removed to another hospital. “We are so relieved” she said “now I’m going to set about doing a deep clean of the passageway and shared space”.