A nursing home in Cork which experienced a significant outbreak of Covid-19 in recent weeks has apologised for its level of communication with families of the residents.
The statement followed a report in the Irish Examiner that up to 25 residents at the CareChoice nursing home in Ballynoe passed away since the outbreak began in January.
Some relatives of residents who died are calling for an inquiry into what happened at the home and Cork TD Mick Barry has said he intends to raise the issue in the Dáil. They have raised concerns about the communication with families and the level of access to residents.
In a statement to The Echo, Chief Executive of CareChoice Gerry Moore said ‘we offer our sincere condolences to every family member and friend of our residents who have passed during this very significant Covid19 outbreak in our Ballynoe nursing home’.
“We are contacting all of the families directly to discuss their concerns and issues,” he said.
One woman, whose mother died early this month, spoke of the heartbreak of watching her mother pass away through the window of the nursing home.
Pauline Downey’s mother Kathleen passed away on February 1 after catching Covid-19, just 10 days after receiving the vaccine.
Speaking to Neil Prendeville on Cork’s RedFM, Ms Downey said that she and her family were informed on January 31 that their mother had “a bad night and was put on oxygen” and that she had tested positive for Covid-19.
She said that shortly after, they received a phone call to inform them that their mother was passing away. She said that when they asked for one member of the family to be allowed to see their mother in person, they were told it wouldn't be an option and instead were told they could say their goodbyes through the window.
She said that she will “never forget it” and that all they wanted “was just five minutes to hold her hand just to say it's okay mom you can go”.
Mr Moore said that as soon as the outbreak began, staff from other homes relocated to support and took on additional shifts to cover for colleagues who tested positive for Covid19.
“We also deployed additional management resources to support the home,” he said. “Our Infection Prevention and Control nurse has also supported the home. Management have had the support and guidance of the GP in the home, Public Health and a Consultant Geriatrician.
"Management and staff have been unrelenting in their commitment to meeting the care, medication and clinical needs of our residents.”
Solidarity-PBP TD Mick Barry described stories told by the relatives of residents as ‘heartbreaking’
“I am calling for a full Hiqa investigation to be organised to find out exactly what happened here,” he told the Irish Examiner. “I also will be raising this issue in the Dáil next week.”