Covid report provides further compulsion for greater integration of nursing homes within health serviceFriday October 9, 2020
9th October 2020: Nursing Homes Ireland acknowledges publication today of the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Final Report. It again presents that priority was not given to residents in nursing homes when the State was preparing its Covid19 response. The Committee concluded that it remains perplexed at the State’s initial flawed response to a disease that was known to target nursing homes, questioning the systematic practice that was engaged in by the State to discharge thousands of patients into nursing homes in order to prepare hospitals. The Committee recommends the practice engaged in by the State is subject to further inquiry. It also notes the considerable delays that arose in reacting to an evolving and deteriorating situation in nursing homes, especially in respect of testing of residents and staff and the provision of supports like replacement staff and PPE. It takes opportunity to note the “trojan efforts” made by nursing home staff during a pandemic that had the most adverse impact on the population in our nursing homes. We welcome this acknowledgement and the recognition of nursing homes staff as being at the frontline in tackling the disease.
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “The Committee’s report again presents priority was not given to residents in nursing homes when the State was preparing its Covid19 response or when reacting to a deteriorating situation in nursing homes. This disease is not going away in the medium term and the focus has to go on the requirement to greater integrate the nursing home sector within our health services. Focus has to remain ‘on-the-ground’ as nursing homes still need supports to tackle a health emergency never seen before in modern times.”
“The Government must build on this Committee’s recommendations and those that have preceded in recognising the requirement for the State to greater integrate the nursing home sector within our health services. We presented to the Committee the isolation felt by the sector for a period of weeks as Covid19 emerged. The reason for this is there is a disconnect in how the State supports the care needs of residents in private and voluntary nursing homes. Covid19 remains but there must be no delay in developing a new and enhanced model for nursing home care and we look forward to fulfilling an essential and vital role in such.
“Our Members take great pride in providing exceptional specialised care to the most frail in our communities. They are much dependent upon the State, through the Fair Deal scheme, for how they operate. This report should provide further compulsion for the State to finally publish the long-delayed review of the scheme, which was recommended in 2015 but five years later has never materialised. A new model must fundamentally assess the State support structures so we can ensure an optimal support framework is in place to support nursing home residents. An enhanced Fair Deal scheme is pivotal.”
Media interviews will be facilitated by Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive, who can be contacted at 087 9082970
Note for Editor