Care homes ‘pushed’ to issue DNR notices during Covid, Inquiry told

Care homes were pressured to issue Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders during the pandemic, the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry has been told.

Peter McCormick, managing director of Randolph Nursing Homes, said there was a “push” by the NHS to have DNRs imposed during the pandemic, The Mail reported.

McCormick said: “There was an impression that there was – I’m not sure this is the right phrase – but a push on by the NHS to get more of these things in place. In one of our homes we received [DNRs] for all our residents that hadn’t already got one in place.”

Madeana Laing, manager at Beech Manor Care Home in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, said she was told that residents who did not have a DNR would “now need to have one”.

Leaders said hospitals were also reluctant to take residents during the crisis because of bed pressures.

McCormick said: “I think it was the pressures on the NHS and a decision, or at least a direction of travel, which was to limit the access to hospitals for nursing home residents.”

Laing added: “You could clearly see that if they went to hospital they had a really good chance of improving, of getting over what was making them unwell in the first place. But it was almost like, you were not playing God, but it was just ‘no you can’t go, so you just have to stay’, when you could have got better if you had been given the chance.”

Mary Rodgers, manager of Blenham House Nursing Home, said: “At the very beginning when we did have very sick people who did have Covid, one conversation was that they couldn’t be taken to hospital because it would take too long to clean the ambulance, to disinfect it, so they wouldn’t be going.”

The Inquiry continues.

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