Tag Archives: nursing homes

Dr Cathy Gardner with her father Michael Gibson, who died aged 88 in a care home in Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom in April

This morning.

Via BBC:

UK Government policies on discharging patients from hospital to care homes at the start of the Covid pandemic have been ruled unlawful by the High Court.

The ruling comes after two women took the government to court, saying Covid patients were discharged from hospitals back to care homes without testing.

Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, whose fathers died, said it caused a “shocking death toll” of residents.

The women claimed key policies of discharging patients from hospitals into care homes were implemented with no testing and no suitable isolation arrangements in the homes.

The High Court said the policies failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission of the virus.

…In their ruling, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham concluded that, despite there being “growing awareness” of the risk of asymptomatic transmission throughout March 2020, there was no evidence that then Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the issue of the risk to care home residents of such transmission.

Covid: Discharging hospital patients to care homes ‘unlawful’ (BBC)


Kevin Higgins writes:

This is what happened here with at least a thousand needless deaths. This has huge implications for Dept of Health and HSE…

Previously: Left to Die: Nursing Home Timeline

This morning.

Via RTE News:

Visitors to nursing homes will be required to show a Covid vaccination certificate, a HSE vaccination record or another proof of immunity before entering the premises.

That is according to a new document published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

The advice, outlined in the document entitled ‘Normalising visiting in Long-Term Residential Care Facilities’, will be implemented from Monday.

Among the key points listed about visiting long-term residential care facilities like nursing homes is the requirement of window visits to be allowed at all times.

It notes that the term “visitor” does not include Essential Service Providers, who provide healthcare, legal, financial, advocacy and regulatory services.

Nursing home visitors will be asked to show proof of vaccination (RTE)



The Dáil sitting at the Convention centre, Dublin

Aontú leader Peadar Toibín revealed new information about how as many as 10,000 older people were moved from hospitals into nursing homes at the start of Covid. Over 2,000 people died reportedly with Covid in nursing homes.

Peadar Toibīn: “Yesterday, under freedom of information, a document was released to me from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, (NTPF). The document was an email (above), which was issued to nursing homes by the contract manager of the NTPF shortly before 10am on 12 March 2020.

I have already furnished the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Mary Butler, with a copy of this email, which states that the NTPF had been asked to establish capacity within the nursing home sector. It goes on to state that nursing homes will need:

“…to have the ability to care for patients coming from [the] acute hospital setting…”

and further states:

“Facilities must be able to facilitate short term residents being discharged from [an] acute hospital. …residents…may be nominated by the HSE [and] the Department of Health as applicable for receipt of appropriate funding.”

Describing what will happen, the letter states that the individual facility would co-ordinate directly with the discharge unit within the hospital.

This is a damning document. In many ways, it is a smoking gun. We know that the Covid-19 nursing home expert panel found that 10,000 patients were discharged from hospitals into nursing homes in the first six months of 2020.

Was it a Government decision to move elderly patients, wholesale, out of hospital beds and cram them into nursing homes?

The major question is who instructed the NTPF to issue this email? The email states that nursing homes were asked to establish capacity. Who asked them? That is the first question.

We have also learned a pot of money was offered to nursing homes at this time. How much was offered to get older people out of hospitals? The context of this discussion is pivotal. In early March, nursing homes voluntarily closed their doors to visitors in an attempt to protect vulnerable residents.

On 10 March, Dr. Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer, issued a statement stating that these restrictions were not necessary. This document shows that two days after telling nursing homes to reopen their doors, an email was issued to nursing homes instructing them to make way for a large influx of patients from hospitals.

Further FOI documents released reveal that, throughout all of this, the Minister for Health at the time, Deputy Simon Harris, repeatedly ignored requests for meetings from the CEO, of Nursing Homes Ireland, Tadhg Daly.

The Fianna Fáil Opposition spokesperson at the time was the Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, and he revealed that the HSE “intercepted” supplies of oxygen, personal protective equipment, PPE, and staff that were meant for nursing homes.

Was there a concerted effort by the Government or the HSE to take older people out of the safety of hospitals and cram them into nursing homes during the pandemic?

How could this decision be made when the Minister in charge was ignoring appeals from the sector to meet with him, when nursing homes were having their PPE, oxygen and staff taken from them by the HSE and when the CMO was telling nursing homes to keep their doors wide open to the public?

These were an incredible set of events at a period when there was an influx of Covid-19 in this country. It should be remembered, in all the conversations we have had about Covid, the majority of people who died with Covid were in a nursing home or hospital, two locations owned, or under the regulation of, this Government. Can the Minister answer these questions?”

In her reply, Hildegarde Naughton,  Minister of State at the Department of Transport, declined to address these issues, but stated:

“The decision to discharge patients from hospitals to nursing home settings is always subject to clinical assessment. Discharges to nursing homes and other settings are a regular, daily feature of a functioning health system. The period from early March 2020 to mid-April 2020 saw an increase in the number of such discharged patients as the health system prepared itself for an expected surge in Covid-19 cases. From an older person’s perspective, being admitted for longer than necessary increases the risk of a patient contracting a healthcare associated infection or deconditioning. The vast majority of these discharges took place from 10 March 2020 onwards, when clear public health guidance was in place across all acute hospitals.”

Paedar Toibín: “In fairness, none of the questions I asked about accountability have been addressed by the Minister of State whatsoever. This is a serious problem. We need clarification with regard to who is behind these decisions.

She [Deputy Naughton] mentioned that HSE support was provided to the nursing homes. That is not exactly true. Further freedom of information documents I have received show that on 19 October 2020, the Minister of State with responsibility for older persons and mental health, Deputy Mary Butler, wrote to the chief executive of the HSE, Mr. Paul Reid, seeking assurances that the HSE would continue to provide staffing support to homes.

Paul Reid did not respond to the Minister of State for a month. When he did, he said that all was well and that the HSE would continue to provide funding for nursing home staffing and support for nursing homes. On 16 October 2020, a similar letter was sent to Mr. Phelim Quinn, the chief executive of HIQA. Paul Reid said he was disappointed that Mr. Quinn stated certain private nursing homes had not reported that they have received support from the HSE.

When Mr. Reid was telling HIQA and the Minister of State that all was well, I had people from nursing homes on the telephone to me crying for staff. I have in mind specifically a case in the Minister of State, Deputy [Martin] Naughton’s, county, Galway. It occurred almost at the same time that these letters were issued. All staff in a nursing home, bar two, tested positive and it was left without any support. This resulted in the two staff who had tested negative being unable to leave the nursing home because there were no replacement staff.

That is an incredible situation. In case the Minister of State did not notice, the headlines in the newspapers at the time were screaming about staff shortages in nursing homes. All the while there were 75,000 people who had applied to Be On Call for Ireland but they were pretty much left untouched.

The Minister of State mentioned people being discharged under normal regulations. People were being discharged from these hospitals into nursing homes without being tested. It was an incredible situation. When will there be a full investigation? When will there be accountability? When can we be sure this will not happen again?”

Yesterday: Damned

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline


This afternoon.

Watch live here.

More as we get it.

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline


This afternoon.

Leinster House, Dublin 2.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane announces his party’s intention to bring a motion before the Dáil tomorrow calling on the Government to begin a public inquiry into nursing home neglect and deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier: Dr Marcus de Brun: Everybody’s Got One

Previously: Nursing Home Timeline

Leah Farrell/RollingNews

This morning.

“The questions families have relate to management, competence, and why their loved ones contracted Covid-19 and what could have been done to prevent that from happening.”

Frank O’Connell. President of the The Coroners Society of Ireland

Coroners call for statutory inquiry into Covid-19 nursing home deaths (Irish Examiner)

Previously: Left To Die: A Nursing Home Timeline


Adrian McCusker, founder of the PostASelfie App

This morning.

Helen O Dwyer writes:

The Irish PostASelfie app from a small business based in Kilkee in Co Clare is an ideal way to stay connected without leaving home.  It is now FREE to send a PostASelfie postcard to Nursing homes in just a few clicks.

PostASelfie want to help keep people connected and bring a smile to people in Nursing Homes by offering their service FREE until the end of the Level 5 Restrictions.

The postcards are covered with a wipeable laminate so they can be easily wiped down on arrival for extra safety.

Simply write the word FREEPOST | NURSING HOME above the address of the nursing home or residential facility.  It is imperative to include this in order to ensure delivery. Then swipe left to bypass the payment system and enter the voucher code: withlove (all lower case)…

Post A Selfie

Irish-made stocking fillers to broadsheet@broadsheet.ie marked ‘Irish-Made Stocking Fillers’. No fee.

Pic by Arthur Ellis

From top: Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Independent Roscommon–Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice this afternoon

By 10pm on Tuesday night, when the results for all tests came back, 25 out of 27 residents were found to be Covid-19 positive.

The virus has also severely impacted on staff at the facility, with in the region of ten care staff and seven nurses infected.

All have gone into isolation to reduce the further spread of the virus.

As a result, the nursing home is operating with a massively reduced number of staff today.

At present, just one nurse and one health care worker are on duty, along with some ancillary staff at the premises.

Majority of residents and most staff at Galway nursing home have Covid (RTÉ)

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline

This morning.

A report by the Special Dáil Committee on Covid-19 has recommended a public inquiry into each of the almost 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes.


The report notes how public health authorities “became overly focused on preparing acute hospitals for the ongoing pandemic in February and March” and that the State “failed to recognise the level of risk posed to those in nursing homes”.

Committee members also highlight the State’s “silo type approach…that did nothing to prevent the spread of the disease“.

…The committee recommends the public inquiry should examine the “large scale discharge of patients from acute hospitals to nursing homes at the beginning of March” as well as the response of the HSE, Department of Health, NPHET and Government to virus related difficulties in nursing homes.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has consistently defended NPHET’s decision not to recommend visitor restrictions on 6 March – however the committee recommends a public inquiry should examine this decision further.


TDs say there should be greater transparency around the data used by NPHET to recommend restrictions- and the data should be peer reviewed by an Independent expert panel.

Committee on Covid-19 recommends inquiry into nursing home deaths (Barry Lenihan, RTÉ)

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly at the publication launch of the COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel Report.

This afternoon.

The COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel Report has been published.

As of July 14, 79% of all notified deaths from COVID-19 occurred in the over 75 age group and deaths in nursing homes (985 cases) represented 56% of total deaths (1,748 cases) in Ireland.

From the report:

‘The COVID-19 public health emergency has shown some of the many strengths of Irish society. It has also shown some weaknesses.

We have a two-tier healthcare system and a two-tier siloed approach to the long-term support and care of older people which favours referral to long-term care settings as opposed to promoting a wider range of home care options. We owe it to our older population and ourselves to do better.’


During the crisis, leadership and timely decision-making became overwhelmed due to a vacuum of clear guidance, mixed messaging, a lack of access to clinical expertise and resources (oxygen, infusion pumps, PPE).

A submission from academic nursing who took part in the ‘call to arms’ felt that for the vast majority of nursing homes there was no direct clinical governance; GPs’ mainly focused on managing their individual patients either in person or virtually. COVID-19 very quickly exhausted existing governance and escalation pathways.

Read here

More as we read it.

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline

Sam Boal/Rollingnews