HSE staff in Cork can be redeployed to nursing homes severely impacted by Covid-19 but only as a ‘last resort’ and depending on staff availability, the health service confirmed.
A spokesperson for the HSE South toldthat it continues to support nursing homes in the region with public health and other clinical inputs.
This support can include the reassignment of HSE staff to support nursing homes but only as ‘a last resort’ and can only happen where staff are available, the spokesperson said.
The statement comes after a nursing home in the Roscommon-Galway region was left in a state of ‘absolute emergency’ after the majority of staff and residents tested positive for Covid-19.
Some 26 of the 28 residents at Nightingale Nursing Home in Ballinasloe have tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.
The outbreak at the nursing home has left it with just one nurse and one care assistant, as well as a chef and food server after the majority of staff, also tested positive for Covid-19.
Management at the nursing home said they requested help from the HSE but that staff were not supported.
However, the HSE said it was monitoring the situation closely and that it has provided support to stabilise staffing in the coming days.
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported at nursing homes across the country in recent weeks, including in Cork.
Just last month, a confirmed case of Covid-19 was detected in a Care Choice nursing home in Montenotte on the northside of Cork City.
Speaking at the time, Cork GP Dr John Sheehan warned that further cases of Covid-19 in nursing homes are “inevitable” as the number of cases in the community increases.
A spokesperson for the HSE toldthis week that it “continues to provide a range of supports to all long term residential facilities across the country, including nursing homes”.
“This support is primarily managed through area Covid Response Teams and includes management support, provision of free PPE and other necessary supplies, Public Health and other clinical inputs such as gerontology, infection prevention and control input where required, accommodation arrangements for certain staff, support with sourcing staffing and, in some cases, the reassignment of HSE staff to support nursing homes,” she said.
“The reassignment of HSE staff takes place as a last resort, and can only happen where staff are available.
“The best way for all of us to protect the vulnerable, including residents of nursing homes and other long term residential facilities, is to do everything we can to stop the transmission of Covid-19,” she added.
“Lower rates of Covid-19 in the community reduces the risk for us all, but particularly the vulnerable.”