Significant number of residential centres in Cork 'in crisis': Chief Officer says there is an urgent need for more staff 

Significant number of residential centres in Cork 'in crisis': Chief Officer says there is an urgent need for more staff 

A significant number of residential centres in the Cork and Kerry region are currently “in crisis”, with the Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Michael Fitzgerald saying he could not “overstate how serious the situation” is for many facilities.

A significant number of residential centres in the Cork and Kerry region are currently “in crisis”, with the Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Michael Fitzgerald saying he could not “overstate how serious the situation” is for many facilities.

Forty-seven outbreaks have been identified across residential settings in the Cork and Kerry region including in nursing homes, community hospitals, disability centres and mental health services.

It is understood that most of the outbreaks are in residential centres for older people such as nursing homes and community hospitals.

The HSE and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare are now providing support to the facilities to ensure that the necessary supports are in place to manage the outbreaks, and say their absolute priority is to make sure that residents continue to receive the care they need.

The level of staff ill or out of work as a result of Covid-19 is presenting challenges, however.

It is understood that in one instance, in the region of 40 staff from one centre are currently not able to attend work.

Staff redeployment 

Efforts are now underway to redeploy staff to the centres which need support, but Mr Fitzgerald said there is an “urgent need” for more healthcare staff”.

“I cannot overstate how serious the situation is right now for many nursing homes, community hospitals and other centres. The level of staff ill with Covid-19 across the health service means that it is difficult for some locations to maintain their staffing at the levels needed, and this is a constant challenge.

“The HSE and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is now supporting a significant number of residential centres in crisis. Staff are going to heroic lengths to make sure that residents continue to receive the care they need, and their communities may never know the debt of gratitude we all owe them.” 

Appeal for healthcare staff 

Mr Fitzgerald said that despite these heroic efforts of healthcare staff, there is still an urgent need for more healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants, to redeploy to nursing homes.

“I repeat our appeal for any healthcare staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants not currently involved in direct care of patients or residents and who are available to contact me on MichaelM.Fitzgerald@hse.ie”

The Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare reiterated his appeal to the public to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“In particular, we ask everyone to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone outside your own household. This is the best way for you to play your part in stopping the spread of Covid-19 in order to protect residents in nursing homes and our healthcare workers,” he said.

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