The Department of Health says nursing homes were not left isolated during the coronavirus crisis.
It follows criticism of the level of state support from the Nursing Homes Ireland, which says preparations for the Covid-19 pandemic were too focused on acute hospitals
But Dr Kathleen MacLellan, who chairs NPHET's vulnerable people group, says the health service did take action to help.
She says: "We have seen for some nursing homes where the hospital groups themselves have actually taken over and provided support to nursing homes.
"So it is very difficult to see how nursing homes could feel that they were isolated. But I wouldn't take away from the challenges that we've had. It's been a very difficult time.
"It's been a difficult time for staff, it's been a difficult time for relatives and obviously tt's been a difficult time for residents."