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Bishop's Stortford care home owner pays tribute to staff keeping elderly safe from coronavirus




Bishop’s Stortford care home owner Nick Meyer’s voice cracks with emotion as he describes the efforts of his staff to protect residents during the coronavirus crisis.

So far, their hard work and scrupulous hygiene have succeeded and, unlike many other homes across the country, Conewood Manor in Dunmow Road remains free of the Covid-19 contagion.

Maintaining that status requires constant vigilance from the management and employees as they care for guests at the 44-bedroom property.

Just some of the 55 staff at Conewood Manor, who are led by manager Attila Gyarmati and his wife Rosza. Picture: Vikki Lince (33757164)
Just some of the 55 staff at Conewood Manor, who are led by manager Attila Gyarmati and his wife Rosza. Picture: Vikki Lince (33757164)

Since lockdown began, they have lost two residents to old age, but in neither case was coronavirus suspected or confirmed as a contributing factor.

Nick said with relief: “We are clear, thank God, so far.

He took over Conewood Manor six years ago and has invested £1.8m in refurbishing the Edwardian building. He is leading from the front in the current crisis with his daughter, who is deputy operations director, and his wife Suzanne.

Conewood Manor residents on a previous visit to Ladybirds pre-school at Northgate Primary School in Bishop's Stortford – children at the nursery visit the home regularly. Picture: Vikki Lince (33641773)
Conewood Manor residents on a previous visit to Ladybirds pre-school at Northgate Primary School in Bishop's Stortford – children at the nursery visit the home regularly. Picture: Vikki Lince (33641773)

He has 55 staff and all are still working, led by manager Attila Gyarmati, his wife Rosza and a dedicated team of nurses.

Nick said: “Attila has been so calm through all of this, it’s amazing.”

When they arrive at work, all members of staff have their temperature taken and the procedure is repeated halfway through the shift to ensure they are not feverish. Nick has provided fabric masks for workers to wear outside the home to try to protect them from infection.

“I've had three amazing ladies who have made masks for my staff for their personal protection," he said. “If I can keep my staff safe, I can keep my residents safe.”

Conewood Manor resident June reads to little Leonardo, held by a member of staff from Early Birds and Night Owls at Northgate Primary School. Picture: Vikki Lince (33641794)
Conewood Manor resident June reads to little Leonardo, held by a member of staff from Early Birds and Night Owls at Northgate Primary School. Picture: Vikki Lince (33641794)

He has also ramped up the PPE (personal protective equipment) available, including face shields, and has invested in full bodysuits, which were due to arrive on Monday.

High Street acupuncturist Dr Guilin Ding has helped Nick to source extra masks for staff from China, but the crisis has a financial as well as an emotional cost. Costs of PPE have gone up by some 170%.

As the home, which is rated 'good' by the Care Quality Commission, isolates its residents there have been some heart-rending and heart-warming moments.

When they arrive at work, all members of staff have their temperature taken and the procedure is repeated halfway through the shift to ensure they are not feverish. (33757165)
When they arrive at work, all members of staff have their temperature taken and the procedure is repeated halfway through the shift to ensure they are not feverish. (33757165)

Nick said: “Because we cannot allow visitors in, we have people coming to the window to see their loved ones. It’s heartbreaking but it’s also lovely.”

He said: "God bless the NHS, God bless my carers..."

The Indie approached other care homes in the Stortford and Stansted area with questions about how they were coping during the coronavirus crisis, but they have not responded.

BISHOP'S STORTFORD: Conewood Manor, Dunmow Road – capacity 47 users; Elmhurst, Windhill – capacity 61; Hazel End (Halcyon Care), St Michael's Hurst – capacity 66; Premier Court (Bupa), Thorley Lane East – capacity 59.

STANSTED: Broome End, Pines Hill – capacity 37; Hargrave House, Cambridge Road – capacity 58; Mountfitchet House, Coltsfield – capacity 60.

LITTLE HALLINGBURY: Falcon House, Latchmore Bank – capacity 29.


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