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Herne Bay care homes lose £120,000 due to coronavirus crisis costs

Bosses of two care homes are £120,000 out of pocket due to the coronavirus crisis – and expect the figure to more than double over the next six months.

St Brelades and The Cumberland – which together care for about 60 elderly women with dementia – in Herne Bay have seen sharp falls in revenue since the beginning of lockdown.

Cumberland Care Home, Beltinge Road, Herne Bay
Cumberland Care Home, Beltinge Road, Herne Bay

Managing director Larry Berkowitz says people’s reluctance to move family members into the properties in Beacon Hill and Beltinge Road during the pandemic has contributed to the loss of funds.

He explained: “Every month we lose one or two residents due to natural causes.

“That’s been carrying on for the last three months, but the problem is we haven’t got anyone new in – so we’ve lost revenue and dipped into savings.

“People are nervous to send their grandmother to a care home. We’re probably going to be about £270,000 out of pocket by the beginning of next year, assuming it carries on at this rate.”

Mr Berkowitz also says steps taken at the beginning of lockdown to move members of staff into the homes in a bid to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19 has contributed to the group’s losses. About £20,000 was spent kitting out offices and spare rooms with bunk beds and mattresses to accommodate a total of 30 workers.

Larry Berkowitz
Larry Berkowitz

But, with the spread of the virus appearing to slow nationwide, the homes’ self-imposed lockdowns could soon be lifted.

“Revenue is going down, but expenses are rising,” Mr Berkowitz added.

“We’ve had carers living here, so we were feeding them and paying for their expenses.

“At the same time, we had to bring in extra staff to live there. We lost a lot of money in this sense and from converting the home.”

Thirty carers went into lockdown with elderly residents at St Brelades and The Cumberland in Herne Bay
Thirty carers went into lockdown with elderly residents at St Brelades and The Cumberland in Herne Bay

Despite this, Mr Berkowitz is ruling out making any redundancies, stating that much of the infrastructure at St Brelades and The Cumberland needs to remain in place.

He says similar issues are affecting care homes throughout the county, and is calling for greater financial support to be afforded to providers.

“All of the homes are in the same boat, but a lot of them have had virus outbreaks and so are much worse off,” he continued.

“There are quite a few care homes around us who lost people to the virus, so there’s going to be an awful lot more choice for people – so it’s going to be harder to secure residents,” he added.

“We have to assume things will get better. We’ve had a few more enquiries lately.”

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay

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