Care home nurse who died after contracting Covid-19 described as ‘wonderful human being’

A care home nurse who died after contracting Covid-19 has been described as a “wonderful human being” by her colleagues.

Rahima Bibi Sidhanee (pictured), who had worked at Grennell Lodge Nursing Home for over 30 years, was admitted to hospital a week ago and died on Sunday.

In a tribute the director of Care Unlimited, which operates the privately-owned care home in Sutton, south London, raised concerns about a lack of testing for staff in the social care sector.

Danny Shamtally said there was an “urgent need” for testing of care home staff as he remembered Ms Sidhanee as a friend who was dedicated to her profession.

He said in a statement on Tuesday: “Our family recollection of her is of a person of extreme kindness, selflessness and impeccable loyalty and integrity.

“Rahima loved nursing and the people she cared for, their happiness was of great importance to her and she would go above and beyond in her delivery of care.”

Ms Sidhanee trained at Edgware General Hospital in the 1970s, and was a registered nurse and midwife with nearly 50 years’ experience.

She was also a “very good cook” who made Caribbean and Indian food for residents at the home – in her own time and at her own expense, according to Mr Shamtally.

He said that she trained with “old school values” and would ensure that her residents were “clean, well-presented and comfortable”.

“In 30 years of service there has never been any reproach about her care and professionalism,” he said.

“Always calm and collected, with a subtle sense of humour, she had the ability to diffuse tension.

“Most importantly, her residents spoke highly of her.

“There is so much one can say about this wonderful human being.

“We have lost an exemplary professional, a caring mother and a very good friend taken from us far too early.”

Mr Shamtally said that although the privately-owned care home appeared to be “virus free”, he said a lack of testing was “placing both staff and residents at risk”.

He said: “Whilst the home Rahima worked for, Grennell Lodge in Sutton, appears without testing to be virus free, we feel strongly that the lack of appropriate testing for staff and residents leaves many care homes like ours are in a position where we do not know if staff are emergent or asymptomatic carriers of the virus, placing both staff and residents at risk.

“Judging by the increasing numbers of care homes reporting residents and staff dying with the virus, there is an urgent need for adequate testing.”

Mr Shamtally added that he had voiced concerns about a lack of testing to the NHS Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group and social services.

“The testing being trailed in our locality is focused on staff who have symptoms and are already isolating,” he said.

“Requiring them to attend testing centres in remote locations without consideration that many working in the care sector in our region do not drive.

“It is clearly apparent that the testing is well below what should be expected in order to keep the spread of infection under reasonable control.”

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