Lengthy wait for nursing home Covid-19 tests

As nursing homes strive to contain the spread of coronavirus it emerged that more than four out of ten are waiting over 10 days for test results.
Lengthy wait for nursing home Covid-19 tests

As nursing homes strive to contain the spread of coronavirus it emerged that more than four out of ten are waiting over 10 days for test results.

Nursing Homes Ireland, which conducted the survey, said it exposed inconsistencies right across the country.

The survey revealed that two residents are waiting 20 days for a test result and another died while awaiting testing.

Staff at one nursing home are still waiting over two weeks for test results.

One in five nursing homes ranked their engagement with the HSE on the provision of personal protective equipment as “poor” or “very poor” and one in four found the PPE supplied was not fit for purpose.

One nursing home said it had been requesting PPE for over two weeks and had been assured it would be prioritised five times.

“Promised delivery yesterday as it had been dispatched. Still waiting,” another commented.

Most (88%) of nursing homes got their PPE from a private supplier and one in 10 had to use “homemade” equipment.

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Others complained of having inadequate and inappropriate quantities of PPE and not having orders filled. They said staff had become very stressed because of a lack of PPE.

“We had a suspected case. Our own PPE now used up. Making our own arrangements to source same,” said one nursing home.

“I was told if we have a case PPE will be provided. We had three suspected cases at the time. Since then one has returned as negative. If any of the others come back as positive it will be too late,” another commented.

Asked about staffing, 35% said they were aware that the HSE was recruiting staff members.

NHI chief executive, Tadhg Daly, said the survey that was quickly pulled together reflected members’ frustrations.

The National Public Health Emergency Team recommended a range of enhanced measures to assist residents and staff in nursing homes but Mr Daly said they had yet to see the “fruits” of that.

“There are challenges; we accept that but the reality on the ground is mirrored in the survey,” he said.

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