The scale of the devastation caused in nursing homes by Covid-19 has been laid bare in inspection reports which show that one fully compliant centre lost 22 residents, while other centres with very good compliance saw a large percentage of their residents die from the virus.
The Health Information and Quality Authority published 36 reports on inspections at nursing homes, many conducted since the first wave of the coronavirus, and found that some had serious compliance issues detected before the initial outbreak, while others were found to be sub-standard after the first wave had passed.
However, the inspection conducted on June 30 last at Drumbear Nursing home, operated by the Newbrook Nursing Home Unlimited Company in Co Monaghan, found it was compliant with all standards - yet it still experienced 22 resident deaths during the first surge of the virus.
"Approximately 53% of residents with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection died during the period of the centre's outbreak," the report said.
The inspection report for Beechwood Nursing Home in Co Carlow, which had a very high level of compliance, said a total of 30 residents had tested positive "and sadly the centre recorded 11 deaths during this time".
In addition, 46 staff members also tested positive.
At the Cherry Grove Nursing Home in Co Wexford, substantially compliant with HIQA standards, 24 residents tested positive and there were 10 deaths. A significant number of staff also tested positive.
The Sancta Maria Nursing Home at Parke, Kinnegad in Co Meath lost one resident to Covid-19, but HIQA said there had been "a sharp increase in the amount of unsolicited information received by the Chief Inspector of Social Services in relation to the quality and safety of care provided to the residents".
The inspection found "significant risks" and immediate action plans were issued, with staffing levels severely impacted by the virus outbreak and serious issues with infection control measures at the facility.
Regarding the Kilcoole Lodge Nursing Home, opened in January 2020, the report said:
Issues included "the public health and infection control advice and guidance from the HSE outbreak control team in relation to PPE and cohorting staff to residents was not being implemented", with an action plan issued.
At the HSE-run Killarney Community Hospitals (Fuschia, Hawthorn and Heather Wards), HIQA found that "due to the close proximity of some residents beds to each other, in particular in the six bedded rooms, they did not have the option to social distance, thus increasing their risk of transmitting an infection."