Half of residents in Rotterdam dementia care home died of coronavirus: report

De Leeuwenhoek nursing home in Rotterdam had a striking number of deaths over the past weeks, presumably due to the coronavirus. So far 15 residents have died, and there are more deaths every day. The ward for residents with dementia lost half of its inhabitants, sources around the nursing home told NRC.

Residents in other wards have also died, according to the newspaper's sources - family members of residents and three employees at the nursing home who asked to remain anonymous. The deceased residents were not tested for the coronavirus. But the 72 people currently living in the nursing home were tested and a quarter of them were diagnosed with Covid-19. The same percentage applies to the staff. All residents of De Leeuwenhoek are now in quarantine, according to the newspaper.

The sources NRC spoke to accused De Leeuwenhoek of not responding well to the pandemic and therefore not doing enough to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Staff were initially told not to wear masks, so as not to confuse the elderly residents, according to the sources. It was also impossible to prevent residents with dementia from wandering through the nursing home, resulting in the virus having opportunity to spread, a site manager confirmed in a letter to informal caregivers and family.

In a written response to the newspaper, De Leeuwenhoek confirmed that "a large proportion of residents" died. The nursing home would ot give exact numbers, due to regional agreements, a spokesperson said to NRC. The nursing home said that it responded adequately to the Covid-19 outbreak. Guidelines from health institute RIVM and municipal health service GGD were followed, the spokesperson said. According to De Leeuwenhoek, it did "not act differently than other at locations or at other healthcare institutions" and "certainly did not respond too late".

Two years ago, De Leeuwenhoek was also in the news when sources told a Dutch newspaper that employees at the nursing home were abusing and stealing from residents.