Tag Archives: nursing homes

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


This evening.

Leaked last week and, in the traditional manner, released late on the Friday of a Bank Holiday.

The 68-page Special Covid-19 Committee report on the impact of Covid-19 in nursing homes calls for an independent review of almost 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths of people in elderly care.

Report here

More as we read it.

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline

This afternoon.

A report on the impact of the virus on nursing homes by The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has been published.

Via The Irish Times:

“The State health watchdog was granted an emergency court order to shut down a nursing home over fears residents could not be protected during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has also revealed none of the 44 homes where there had been confirmed cases of Covid-19 fully complied with regulations to stem the spread of the disease.

…In a report on the impact of the pandemic on nursing homes, Hiqa said it began inspecting homes that had “significant outbreaks” and found shortcomings in management, staffing levels as well as infection prevention and control skills.

Hiqa granted order to shut nursing home over Covid-19 risk to residents (Irish Times)


The report also outlines the human impact of dealing with the pandemic on staff, residents and their families who contacted HIQA to tell their story.

Residents spoke of the fear of never hugging their family again and of what would happen if a resident of staff member tested positive.

One said he would “not leave the room again until a vaccine was found”.

Others were frustrated and angry that prevention measures meant they were largely confined to their bedrooms and cut out from the friends in the centre.

The only human contact was from staff, many of whom were wearing PPE.

There was also a serious impact on the wellbeing of staff.

One home said “we have some staff that are still out and it is likely they will never return, such is their upset“.

Half of nursing homes with virus outbreaks inspected did not follow hygiene rules – HIQA (RTÉ)

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline


From top: Adrian Bartley (left), his father Ultan Sheehan; Kilbrew Nursing Home, Ashford, County Meath; Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Audrey Carville asked the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly about the death of Ultan Meehan who died, aged 79, in hospital just over two weeks after being admitted from the Kilbrew Nursing Home in Ashbourne, County Meath.

Mr Meehan had contracted Covid-19 before he died in June. He also had cancer and dementia.

Ultan’s son Adrian Bartley, who was a resident of the same nursing home and who had Down syndrome and dementia, died ten weeks earlier in April. He had also contracted Covid-19.

Yesterday, Simon Carswell, in The Irish Times, wrote about Mr Meehan and Mr Bartley following an interview with Mary Bartley Meehan amid calls for an inquiry into her husband and son’s deaths.

During his Morning Ireland interview earlier, Mr Donnelly was asked about the case of the two men.

Audrey Carville: “His wife and her advocate describe the horrific and distressing condition that she found her husband in when she went to visit him. It was brought to your department’s attention when Simon Harris was in the ministerial position. The department passed it to the HSE who passed it to HIQA. Will Mary Bartley Meehan be told why this happened to her husband?”

Stephen Donnelly: “Audrey, I don’t want to get into the details of an individual case on air if you don’t mind. Obviously it’s a very distressing case. It’s something we will be looking at very closely but I would just prefer it if we don’t get into an individual case like this on air, if you don’t mind.”

Carville: “But will she get answers, I suppose, ultimately, is that broader question. Will she be told the answers?”

Donnelly: “Well, it will be looked at. Absolutely. Of course it will. And, as you said, the previous minister has already looked into it and I will be on it as well. But, other than that, because it is an individual case, I would prefer to…I just don’t think it’s appropriate…”

Carville: “I understand…but the bigger question then that needs to be answered is who has responsibility for clinical governance in private nursing homes?”

Donnelly: “Well HIQA is, well, ultimately the responsibility for running nursing homes is for the nursing homes. HIQA is the regulator. It is incumbent on HIQA to inspect and to enforce but the responsibility for running nursing homes, obviously falls to the owners of the nursing homes.”

Carville: “Thank you very much indeed….”

Previously: left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline

Covid-19: Tragedy of ‘terrible dimensions’ as woman loses husband and son (Simon Carswell, irish Times)


From top: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Independent TD Catherine Connolly, Independents 4 Change TD Joan Collins at a Dáil sitting in the Convention Centre yesterday


In the Dáil.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced a further financial package to assist nursing homes deal with Covid-19.

A four-person expert panel, comprised of Professor Cecily Kelleher, Professor Cillian Twomey (chair), Petrina Donnelly and Brigid Doherty, was scheduled to furnish the Minister for Health with a report on nursing homes and Covid-19 by the end of June but it’s understood this report has yet to be delivered.

During his first appearance in the Dáil as minister yesterday, a number of TDs recalled the number of Covid-19-related deaths that have taken place in nursing homes and their views of the situation in nursing homes in general.

Social Democrat TD Roisín Shortall said:

“The Minister often talks about data and data should be driving all decision-making around this. There is now quite a body of data built up and we have many people involved in that. The problem is that most of it has been kept secret. I spent five or six weeks chasing the Department of Health to get data on the prevalence figures. It had it but it just did not produce it.

“…What is the strategy on the containment or the elimination of Covid? I heard about an outbreak in a nursing home. We are being told about potential clusters. What happens if many people come in from abroad? What is the strategy in terms of a rapid response to a threat like that? Is there a plan to target people in a specific locality or setting, such as a nursing home? What is the plan for testing and tracing? Is there a strategy to ensure we respond rapidly to any new outbreak or upsurge?”

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny said:

“I want to raise a number of issues, the first of which is the effect of Covid-19 on the nursing homes sector. I welcome the additional provision in the Revised Estimates to deal with the crisis. However, the level of death in nursing homes during the Covid pandemic is a national scandal. There is a lot of speculation as to why it happened. That question probably cannot be answered here and will have to be dealt with in a different venue. The relatives of those who passed away will want to know why their loved ones passed away in such a manner.”

Independent TD Michael Lowry said:

“The successful handling of the Covid-19 crisis in our health system required substantial money. Additional staff were brought on board quickly. It took money to do that, but it also took expert management of the situation. The driving force behind our excellent handling of the crisis was the way we managed it. The speed and urgency of the required response to the crisis demanded that it be managed with almost military precision.

“Even before the first case occurred, our hospitals were ready and intensive care beds, critical care beds and step-down beds were made available at rapid pace. Testing centres were also quickly established. The one major glitch in the system was the failure of the HSE to support the nursing home sector in a timely fashion, and we were also slow to roll out testing and contact tracing. That needs continuous upgrading as it is the principal strategy for coping with a virus that is going to remain with us.”

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said:

“Ar an gcéad dul síos, I pay tribute to all the front-line staff and the workers in all areas who did Trojan work. I sympathise with each and every family that lost loved ones. I thank RTÉ for the “RTÉ Investigates” programme last night. It was just shocking. What happened in nursing homes was unforgivable.”

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said:

I fundamentally disagree that we looked after the residents in nursing homes. We did not. I have taken every opportunity to say that because we did not, although we had ample time to do that. While I appreciate how difficult it is for the HSE, we did not put our nursing homes and residential centres at No. 1 on the list. We failed to do that and we failed to be honest about the testing regime from day one. We manipulated and we twisted and we spun.

“I ask for openness and accountability so that we can all work together.”

Independents 4 Change TD Joan Collins said:

I agree with Deputy Connolly about the nursing homes. They were not prioritised and, to a certain degree, I understand that because the HSE and NPHET were scared of its lives about what could have happened in the public hospitals because of the crisis in healthcare. That is where things went wrong, because they were focused mainly on the public hospitals and the public in general and they dropped the ball from the point of view of our nursing homes and our older people.

“We saw what happened as a consequence.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Previously: What Happened In The Homes?

Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline

Stephen Donnelly, newly appointed Minister for Health and President Michael D. Higgins at Dublin Castle on Saturday: A tweet from Mr Donnelly in April


On RTÉ Radio One’s This Week, the new Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly had this exchange with journalist Justin Moran.

Justin Moran: “You’ve been highly critical of the way nursing homes were handled during the pandemic. Will there be a comprehensive inquiry into why there were so many deaths in nursing homes?”

Stephen Donnelly: “So the first thing we’ve got to do, Justin, is we’ve got to wait for the expert report. Minister Harris kicked it off some time ago. There is four people on it. It will be reporting, well I guess to me now in the coming weeks so let’s see what, let’s see what that says. But if a more detailed inquiry is required that is certainly something that we will look at.”


Moran: “So what are you going to do then to make sure that nursing homes, for example, aren’t as badly infected, if there is a second wave, as there were in the first?”

Donnelly: “Well, I’ll be meeting with the officials, meeting with the public health officials, meeting with the nursing homes and listening very carefully. What we have to do is make sure that there’s a comprehensive package of supports and protections in place. I do know that an extraordinary amount of work has been done at a national level and also at a community health organisation.

“There are frontline workers who have been working around the clock with the nursing homes to make sure that they can get the supports they need. The question we will be looking at in the coming days is: are all the supports that are needed in place? If not, what else needs to be done? And let’s make sure we get that done straight away.”

Listen back here



St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park, Dublin

…The team has requested a meeting with the whistleblower, a staff member from St Mary’s, to “confirm and validate an understanding of the nature of the disclosures” and examine any supplementary evidence.

Caoimhe Haughey, a solicitor representing the whistleblower, said she had concerns about the nature of the review and was seeking clarification from the HSE.

The terms of reference are not clear at all,” she said.

“While the documents furnished to my client refer to the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and the HSE’s own Protected Disclosure Policy document, there is no provision for investigation of St Mary’s which is what was initially promised.”

She added: “As far as I am concerned it is unclear whether this investigation is strictly for the purposes of testing the veracity of the protected disclosure or whether it is for the purposes of commencing a formal investigation into the practices at St Mary’s.

Team investigating HSE nursing home death rate asks to meet whistleblower (Independent)

Previously: Left To Die: Nursing Home Timeline

In St Mary’s