THE owner of five care homes in Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey has spoken out on the anguish of losing half the residents in a single house.

There have been five Covid-19 cases at one of the Fairways Care households at the Tŷ Cariad Dementia Care Centre in Abergele, with four of the residents sadly dying from the virus.

At the home, Fairways Care operate semi-autonomous households, meaning that the outbreak has been contained in just one household, but the occupancy in the affected household is down to 50 per cent.

Mark Bailey, the managing director of company, said: “It’s not like being in a hospital where you look after somebody for a few days. In nursing and care homes, they’re really very genuine relationships that are built.

“So for the staff who work in Tŷ Cariad in Abergele in the household where we had Covid and lost half our clients, the staff are close to these people and love these people.

“There’s been lots of tears and upset. We have been providing the staff with access to counselling but the staff are devastated."

On top of the "emotional toll", the pandemic has caused huge financial pressures for the company - which provides care for 240 people and employs 400 staff - and has also had three residents at the Fairways Nursing Home, in Trearddur Bay, on Anglesey, display symptoms.

To date, the company have spent £60,000 on protective masks, £3,500 on sanitiser and £2,000 on thermometers as well as an additional £100,000 on staff.

Mr Bailey added: “It’s taken a huge emotional toll and the pandemic has also caused extra financial costs which are going through the roof."

According to Mr Bailey, the social care sector was in a fragile state before the outbreak hit and says that many care and nursing homes will be pushed over the brink.

He said: ““It strikes me that the NHS is the national religion and nursing homes have traditionally been the national bogeyman.

“The one-off £500 payment to staff is a welcome recognition of our fantastic staff on the front line but this can only be a first step,

“What the Welsh Government, local authorities and health boards really need to do is to fund social care properly so that it is possible to pay the staff what they really and that it is built into the way fees are calculated.

“If they do not ensure a realistic funding model for social care, the £500 payment will be an empty gesture because many care homes will go out of business.”