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We need answers, says family of Ronnie Falloon who died from coronavirus in Lisburn nursing home


Ronnie Falloon (84) died in Rosevale Lodge Care Home just a few hours after becoming ill

Ronnie Falloon (84) died in Rosevale Lodge Care Home just a few hours after becoming ill

Ronnie Falloon (84) died in Rosevale Lodge Care Home just a few hours after becoming ill

The family of a care home resident who died from Covid-19 have said serious questions need to be asked of private nursing homes over how they have managed the coronavirus crisis.

Lisburn man Ronnie Falloon (84) died in Rosevale Lodge Care Home on April 7, just a few hours after becoming ill.

He was the first to die as a result of the virus at the home.

A spokesman for Rosevale Lodge in Lisburn confirmed that six residents had died as a result of Covid-19, including two in hospital. A seventh death has been linked to the virus.

The care home said it was following all of the Public Health Agency and HSC guidelines.

However, Mr Falloon's family have been left with "serious questions".

"There was a lockdown four weeks before my father died," Mr Falloon's daughter told the Belfast Telegraph.

"No visitors were allowed in or out, all family members were banned, but given the substantial fees these care home charge I would like to know if adequate PPE and procedures were in place to at least attempt to prevent the virus entering the care home."

On Friday it emerged that more than 40% of Covid-19 related deaths in Northern Ireland have occurred in care homes.

Out of the 393 deaths Nisra recorded by April 24, 158 occurred in the facilities.

It led deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill to declare that the battle against the virus "is now in our care homes".

Mr Falloon's family said they are still searching for answers.

The family say no one from management at the care home has yet contacted them to pass on their sympathies or even notify them of Mr Falloon's death.

"It leaves a very bad taste in your mouth," Mr Falloon's daughter said.

"My daddy was taken ill on the morning of April 7. He died that evening and a nurse, who was lovely, phoned at 10.30pm to tell me he had passed away.

"I know he passed quickly in his sleep, so he didn't suffer. He had been tested for coronavirus that morning. It was only after he died that the result came back as positive. We know the staff there loved him and cared for him. It had been his home for two and half years.

"But we're left with serious questions. We were paying over £2,500 a month for my dad to be looked after there.

"We have no idea whether any of the income from us, or the families of other residents, was used to make the necessary health and safety arrangements to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"And if no one was able to enter the home for four weeks before my father died, how did the virus get in there? It could only have been through contact with a member of staff, so what measures were in place to stop that from happening?"

It is understood the manager of the home was absent for a couple of weeks after contracting coronavirus and other family members who worked there had to self-isolate as well.

While in isolation the manager continued to work from home and was supported by other senior members of the group's staff, including the regional area manager and head of nursing.

A spokesman for Rosevale Lodge said: "Very sadly, six of our residents have died with coronavirus - four of these were in the home and two in hospital.

"One more resident passed away who did not have symptoms and therefore was not tested. It is possible that this death was Covid-related but without a test, this cannot be stated definitively.

"Our hearts go out to all of the families who have lost someone. These losses are deeply felt by our nursing and care staff, who have looked after these residents over many months and years. We are following all of the Public Health Agency and HSC guidelines and we have had plenty of PPE throughout this crisis.

"The home has been locked down to all visitors since March 17. Our staff are being temperature tested before starting on shift and they complete a declaration every day to state if they are symptom-free.

"Every one of our residents is being temperature tested between twice and four times a day and this has helped in the early detection of some cases."

The spokesman said staff at the care home are in contact with a nominated family member for all the residents to keep them informed.

He added: "We fully understand how worrying a time this is for all families and we have told them that if there is any change in the condition of their loved one, they will be informed immediately. This is an incredibly difficult situation for our staff, who are following all the possible guidelines and are all too aware of the risks to the elderly people in their care, as well as to themselves and their families.

"As a dementia home, while we are doing all we can to isolate our residents, one of the biggest challenges we face is that the nature of the dementia condition makes this very distressing for them.

"The announcement this week from the Department of Health of testing of all staff and residents in nursing homes is welcome.

"As our outbreak occurred before this, we have yet to be able to avail of this and we would urge the department to make this even more widespread and ongoing for months to come.

"More testing is the only thing that will give us greater confidence and control."

Belfast Telegraph