The inspection report at Dealgan House in Dundalk said families did not have the opportunity to be with loved ones when they died, and many were traumatized by what had happened.
The home inspection was conducted on May 27-28, following the deaths of 22 residents.
The nursing home was notified of the inspection on May 26th.
On the day of the inspection, 58 residents were at home. One resident was in the hospital.
It is one of 31 nursing home inspection reports released today by HIQA that addressed Covid-19 outbreaks, preventive measures and resident deaths.
The report at Dealgan House in Dundalk describes how HIQA’s chief inspector was informed of the outbreak at the apartment on April 7th.
It was found that as of April, more than 60% of all employees – including 70% of nurses – were unable to work due to the contract with Covid-19.
The inspection found that the facility had experienced significant delays in accessing test results for residents and staff.
It was found that the staff shortage was exacerbated by a number of employees who could not return to work until their test results came back.
According to HIQA, the senior management team was also severely affected by Covid-19 and therefore unable to work and oversee care and services at home.
The management team was reduced to the assistant nursing director, who continued to work during the outbreak.
Since there were no administrative staff to assist the nursing and nursing staff during the outbreak, the phones were not answered and communications with families collapsed as a result, the report said.
This caused a great deal of fear and distress as the families did not receive accurate information about their loved ones.
During the two-day inspection, the inspectors said the staff spoke with deep respect and grief about the residents who died during the outbreak.
Nursing staff statements described how staff stayed on duty and worked extra hours to ensure residents were not left alone at the end of life.
However, there was strong evidence that communications with residents’ families had not been maintained in all cases during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The home failed to ensure that procedures were in place to keep loved ones informed of a resident’s condition during the outbreak.
Relatives said their grief was compounded by the way their belongings were returned to them.
Black plastic bags and boxes were used to wrap and return residents’ personal belongings, and bereaved relatives told inspectors how this tough arrangement added to their grief at an already difficult time.
Many relatives who spoke to inspectors before and during the inspection were clearly traumatized by these events, and a number of people collapsed as they described their memories of the time.
The inspectors also spoke to residents, and some expressed understanding that something terrible had happened in their home and that some of their friends and neighbors had sadly died as a result.
Some of them expressed their deep gratitude for how well the staff looked after them when they contracted the Covid-19 virus and explained to the inspectors how the staff helped them stay positive and one strive for full recovery.
One resident told the inspectors that they were “tired of looking at the same wall for more than eight weeks”.
The report found that it was evident that the prolonged period of “cocooning” negatively impacted residents ‘well-being and increased relatives’ anxiety.
The nursing home was found to be out of compliance with seven regulations, including infection control.
On the second day of the inspection, the inspectors observed how employees came to work already with their uniforms on and did not maintain social distancing when checking the temperature.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented event, the inspectors found that the Covid contingency plan in place at Dealgan House was not working.
This had seriously affected the provision of care and services to residents and caused a high level of anxiety and suffering for their families.
While the inspectors recognized that the Dealgan House nursing home had been going through a very difficult and traumatic time, they found that the management arrangements in place at the time of the inspection required significant improvement and focus.
Another TLC City West nursing home in Dublin was inspected unannounced on July 23 when it saw a significant Covid-19 outbreak that had persisted since April.
At that point, the inspection report found that 74 residents had tested positive for Covid-19, 45 residents had recovered and 29 residents had died.
76 employees also tested positive.
Although the center had no positive cases at the time of this inspection, the outbreak has not been declared over by the public health team.
An inspection was also conducted at the Loughshinney residence in Skerries, Co Dublin.
There had been two consecutive outbreaks of Covid-19 between April and July.
It was found to be in full compliance with all 16 regulations audited. It was found that the house had planned and prepared Covid-19 from the beginning of the year.
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