The factors associated with Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes were often “outside the control” of the facilities, a new report has found.
A study published by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) found the likelihood of an outbreak occurring in a nursing home was affected by rising infections in the community, the number of beds within the facility and the presence of other nursing homes nearby.
Dr Conor Teljeur, Hiqa’s chief scientist said: “Many of these factors we identified are outside the control of the nursing homes.
“Also, when comparing publicly and privately operated nursing homes, we noted no significant differences.”
The study was commissioned following a recommendation made by the Covid-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel report published in August 2020.
It analysed factors associated with Covid outbreaks in nursing homes in the State and included data up to November 21st, 2020.
However, the analysis was limited due to the lack of reliable and consistent data across nursing homes.
Dr Teljeur highlighted that those living in nursing homes had been “severely impacted, with a disproportionate number of deaths during the early stages of the pandemic”.
Dr John Cuddihy, interim director of the HPSC, added: “Collecting data on potential risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in nursing homes should be considered, although the resources required to collect and maintain the data compared with its usefulness to improve care and inform future decision-making must be examined.”