Fears Covid-19 deaths under-reported in nursing homes, PPE still ‘patchy’

The availability of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE for nursing homes is still “patchy” and will be raised again with Health Minister Simon Harris today amid some concern that deaths due to Covid-19 in nursing homes may be under-reported.
Fears Covid-19 deaths under-reported in nursing homes, PPE still ‘patchy’
Around 30% of nursing homes have been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, Tadgh Daly, said supports need to be ramped up for those facilities affected

The availability of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE for nursing homes is still “patchy” and will be raised again with Health Minister Simon Harris today amid some concern that deaths due to Covid-19 in nursing homes may be under-reported.

Nursing Homes Ireland CEO, Tadgh Daly, said the organisation isn’t monitoring the number of cases or number of deaths at member nursing homes.

He said nursing homes are collating Covid-19 data for public health services but their focus is on providing care.

Mr Daly said he can not say if the number of deaths in nursing homes is being under-reported and noted that the responsibility to register deaths lies with clinicians and GPs.

The nursing homes chief executive said while some believe that Covid-19 could become pervasive in nursing homes, his view is less pessimistic: “It’s also important to say that there have been people who tested positive for Covid-19 in nursing homes, who have made a full recovery."

Around 30% of nursing homes have been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and Mr Daly said supports need to be ramped up for those facilities affected, while also providing wraparound supports to facilities not affected by the disease.

Mr Daly said he will be pressing for more staff and PPE, as well as a faster turnaround on Covid-19 test results when he meets Health Minister Simon Harris today.

His comments come as a Dublin coroner has written to hospitals and services advising of the need to report any death linked to a proven or suspected case of Covid-19.

The Irish Times reported on Thursday that Dublin coroner, Dr Myra Cullinane, raised concern in a letter that not all Covid-19 deaths are being reported as required by law.

Covid-19 is a notifiable disease under infectious diseases regulations and deaths due wholly or partly to a notifiable disease must be reported to the coroner.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

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