6 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Rosewood Rest Home NZ's most vulnerable cluster

From Checkpoint, 5:12 pm on 6 April 2020

A group of 20 elderly residents being moved from their Christchurch rest home are currently considered New Zealand's most vulnerable. 

The group from Rosewood Rest Home's dementia unit are being transferred to Burwood Hospital after a cluster of Covid-19 cases in their residence.

The rest home and hospital in Linwood has 16 confirmed or probable cases of the virus among staff and residents. More than 40 other residents will remain at the rest home if staffing allows.

Canterbury DHB has stepped in to handle the outbreak. The District Health Board's boss David Meates told Checkpoint the residents need extra care as they try to understand what is going on. 

Meates said a number of patients were testing positive on Friday evening. By Monday, 16 cases were confirmed or probable. 

He said it is likely the virus got into the rest home through staff, and the DHB is currently going through contact tracing. 

As of Monday afternoon, four residents were confirmed with Covid-19, eight residents are probable, one staff member is confirmed, and three staff members are probable cases. 

The 20 residents from the dementia unit are going to Burwood Hospital because it is difficult to keep them safely isolated and well-managed at the rest home, Meates said. 

"It is probably fair to assume that the other residents there, out of the 20, have been exposed to and connected with other patients and that wing."

Meats said the other 44 residents are being assisted in their options for ongoing care.  

"What we're looking to do as much as possible - recognising that these are people's homes that we're shifting them out of. And we're very conscious of the fact that this is very disruptive to residents. So we've been exploring all potential options and choices as much as possible to keep people in their own environment." 

The remaining residents at Rosewood Rest Home are not believed to have been exposed to Covid-19, Meates told Checkpoint, as the dementia unit is quite separate from the rest of the facility.  

"Families are reacting really positively. But as you can understand this is a really traumatic time to see their loved ones needing to be moved.

"Most of the families have been really understanding and pleased that appropriate actions have been taken to keep their loved ones safely managed. 

"But it's always a very trying time for families to suddenly get contacted to say that your loved one is needing to shift and move to an alternative facility."

Meates said it is challenging to explain to residents why they have to be moved from their home. 

"Moving anyone out of their home into a different environment is always very, very difficult and very challenging for the kind of individuals going into new surroundings. 

"They are potentially the most vulnerable people and that is why we have moved so quickly to ensure that we've got them into an appropriate environment to manage the outbreak in a way that is in the best interests of patients, the residents and the staff who are caring for them."