An overhaul of the nursing home sector has been recommended in a draft report by the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee.
Deaths in residential care facilities represent over 60% of all Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.
Changes to the sector include the integration of private nursing homes into the wider framework of public health and social care and strengthening the role of Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in their regulation.
It is also recommended that an independent review be commissioned into the circumstances of all deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic.
Yesterday, the chief executive of the HSE Paul Reid has said Ireland should look at moving away from nursing homes as it is difficult to protect older people from Covid-19 in congregated settings.
Mr Reid said: “This is not a time for any one sector blaming the other, we all have to put up our hands and take really big learnings around how nursing homes are overseen and what learnings we have seen throughout the pandemic so far.”
Mr Reid's comments follow a report by HIQA that found just half of Ireland’s nursing homes inspected over confirmed cases of Covid-19 complied with infection prevention standards.
The report found nursing homes were challenged in their efforts to maintain proper infection prevention and control standards due to staff shortages, as many workers were affected by Covid-19 themselves.
-With reporting by Press Association