Ministerial update on Dealgan House welcome, but more questions remain unanswered - Ruairí Ó Murchú TD
Sinn Féin TD for Louth Ruairí Ó Murchú has welcomed an update from Minister Simon Harris on the issues surrounding Dealgan House Nursing Home in Dundalk, with 23 residents dying since early April, believed to have been connected to Covid-19.
Deputy Ó Murchú said;
"I welcome this update from the Department of Health, which answers some of the questions I asked when I raised this issue in Leinster House last week. However, there is still much that remains unclear and unanswered.
"We need clarity on the future plans for the RCSI Hospital Group in Dealgan Nursing Home and what conditions need to be met in order for them to safely withdraw and how the health of patients and staff will be monitored into the future.
"Families still need answers as to what happened here, when and why. They have been brave enough to share their grief and worries must to be listened to now and all their concerns have to be addressed immediately.
"I repeat my calls, and those calls of the families and staff I have spoken to, for a preliminary inquiry to arrest any residual issues before the RCSI Hospital Group leaves, ahead of a full inquiry, whenever the current restrictions allow.
"At the very least, a mechanism for speaking to families and staff, and recording their concerns and testimonies, needs to be found now."
Note to editors: A copy of the response from Minister Harris can be found below.
The Minister for Health understands that the RCSI Hospital Group took over the operational management of Dealgan Nursing Home, Dundalk, Co Louth on the 17th April 2020 to assist during the period of COVID-19.
A range of additional staff supports have been provided to strengthen provision in the nursing home.
· Consultant Geriatrician Support (Support GP, review and assess residents)
· Director of Nursing Support (Provide leadership in absence of Nursing home DON)
· Infection Prevention and Control Support (advice, education and training for staff)
· Occupational Health Support (review and support staff on sick leave)
· Clinical Nurse Manager (Assist with daily leadership in the home)
· Nursing (Ensure safe staffing levels maintained) including 2 CHO community nurses
· Healthcare Assistants (ensure safe staffing maintained)
· Receptionist (Assist with communication with residents families)
· Contract Cleaners (Ensure hygiene standards maintained)
· Practice Development (Training in relation to PPE/Guidelines)
A wide range of measures were also taken in order to control the spread of Covid-19 including:
· All residents are now nursed in single rooms.
· PPE is readily available.
· Cleaning standards and practices are supported by external cleaning contractors and ongoing staff training is in place.
In addition, comprehensive testing of all staff and residents has taken place. Staff that have been diagnosed positive, have taken appropriate isolation precautions and they have been isolating at home, in line with national guidelines. Staff are now beginning to return to their place of work post isolation and the return of Dealgan staff will be reviewed and weekly meetings scheduled to plan safely the handover of operations to the home.
The Nursing home remains closed to admissions and this will be reviewed with the registered provider, Public Health and HIQA, who are fully aware of the current situation. Full staffing complement, necessary for reopening, is anticipated to be in place by month end.
The HSE have advised that the situation has stabilised in the nursing home and the staff support in place has enabled safe staffing levels for residents. There is currently no further spread of Covid-19, which will be monitored closely on a daily basis.