Independent TD Mattie McGrath has expressed his growing concerns and absolute frustration at the ongoing mismanagement and appalling treatment of our nursing homes throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after being contacted by a growing number of nursing home managers who are exhausted and frustrated at the latest set of demands on nursing home managers.
“We are in a situation now where 8 weeks after the arrival of this pandemic on our shores, the HSE has woken up to the crisis within our nursing homes but instead of sending supports, they have decided what nursing homes need most is further inspections and questionnaires.” explained Deputy McGrath
“Our nursing home staff and managers are working in an increasingly stressful situation due to staff shortages, lack of PPE and the vulnerability of patients and along comes the HSE with 12 pages of questions that the Managers must now spend huge amounts of time working through.
To add insult to injury, the first question is whether staff are trained in the use of oxygen. What is most galling about this question for management is that Nursing Homes cannot get oxygen because the HSE is demanding that all supplies be provided to their hospitals first so there is little point asking if staff are trained in the use of vital equipment which they cannot access.” Said Deputy McGrath
The timeline of events relating to Nursing Homes paints a very frightening picture of mismanagement and a lack of respect for the elderly residents, staff and management of our Nursing Homes nationwide.
“Despite repeated requests from Nursing Homes Ireland, for a meeting with the Health Minister back in March, these were ignored for a number of weeks. The Chief Medical Officer advised that visiting restrictions which were introduced were not required at Nursing Homes and the struggles that they have had obtaining PPE, Staff and delays in testing have been well reported.
It is also clear that the HSE's decision to transfer patients from hospitals to nursing home and residential settings to increase capacity in hospitals may have led to the high rate of infections within our nursing homes so serious questions must be asked about the HSE's management here.
We are talking about the most vulnerable sector of society and they are not even represented on NPHET or any of its sub committees so it is not surprising that the HSE would think that it is helpful sending in inspectors and having managers of nursing homes spend hours of their time filling in un-necessary paperwork.
We have had 593 deaths to date associated specifically with nursing homes, this number rises to 697 when all long term residential facilities are included, that's over 58% of all deaths. Our nursing homes are struggling while we have over 1380 vacant beds in our hospitals. The time for inspections and questionnaires in our nursing homes is long past, they need tangible supports, equipment and staff on the ground and not an increased workload and further insults at this very difficult time for our Nursing Homes and their residents.” Concluded McGrath