1,000 patients transferred to Covid-19 nursing homes in first three months of pandemic

Of 119 public nursing homes inspected, 26 did not meet required standards for infection control
1,000 patients transferred to Covid-19 nursing homes in first three months of pandemic

The HSE confirmed that 984 patients were transferred to 197 nursing home facilities with confirmed outbreaks while 783 patients were transferred to 231 facilities with no Covid-19.  Picture: PA

Almost 1,000 patients were transferred from hospitals to almost public and private nursing homes with outbreaks of Covid-19, the HSE has confirmed.

The health service has told the Oireachtas Committee on Covid-19 that 1,767 patients were transferred from acute hospitals to 428 public and private nursing homes between March and May this year - more than half of whom were transferred to facilities with Covid-19 outbreaks.

The HSE confirmed that 984 patients were transferred to 197 nursing home facilities with confirmed outbreaks while 783 patients were transferred to 231 facilities with no Covid-19.

Of 119 public nursing homes inspected, 26 did not meet required standards for infection control and, of 419 private nursing homes inspected, 65 failed to meet the required infection control standard.

The 2020 findings were “not final”, HIQA said, as many reports had yet to be published.

On reassessing infection control standards, the health watchdog found improved compliance in 33% of 27 public nursing home facilities and 36% of 103 private facilities.

Standards, however, deteriorated in one public nursing home facility and in 11 private facilities while compliance remained unchanged in 63% of public facilities and in 53% of private facilities reinspected.

The HSE said Covid Response Teams were set up where nursing home outbreaks occurred and that no HSE facilities were currently reported as “centres of high concern”.

The health service added that issues arose in some centres where rooms and facilities were shared among residents.

“Public health guidance on the transfer of patients from acute care to residential continued to change as knowledge about Covid-19 emerged and clinical understanding evolved,” a HSE spokesperson said.

“Senior clinical staff have visited nursing homes both to guide site-specific actions and to inform revisions of national guidance,” they added.

The figures follow concerns over the number of Covid-19 nursing home deaths and come as a report on how the outbreak was managed in nursing homes is expected to be published this month.

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