February 2, 2021
Hands-off approach to nursing homes failing residents and families – David Cullinane TD

David CullinaneSinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the current clinical governance and management framework between the HSE and private nursing homes is not fit for purpose, and that the hands-off approach is failing residents and families.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Health Committee session this morning shows once again how the hands-off approach to the nursing home sector is failing residents and their families.

“It is an extremely difficult time for all, but especially for our isolated older people.

“Families have had a very difficult time in many instances getting access to information on their loved one.

“Visiting has been very difficult and limited despite clear guidance from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

“The poor clinical governance and management framework between the HSE and private nursing homes is not fit for purpose.

“I am not satisfied that the crisis management plans which are in place can be properly enforced, especially as there is a lack of a minimum threshold of staff-to-residents.

“There are more than 1,500 workers in the sector who have tested positive for Covid in January, and more than 2,500 residents.

“I have been contacted by many family members in Waterford and around the country about difficulties in accessing information or visiting their family in nursing homes.

“I have spoken with Sage Advocacy, the Irish Association of Social Workers, and the Care Champions – Voice for the Elderly groups in recent weeks, some on several occasions, who all reflect this.

“During this extremely difficult time, ensuring access to basic supports such as family should be part of crisis management plans but evidently is not.

“Many family members have reported that they are only given access to their loved ones when it is too late and they are not even aware of their presence.

“There is also a lack of clarity on what happens with visitation restrictions once homes are vaccinated.

“I hope that the successful vaccination of nursing homes will lead to a change in how visitations are conducted, for the health and wellbeing of residents who have been so isolated for the last year.

“There needs to be clear guidance issued in the coming weeks on how successful vaccination of nursing homes opens up new opportunities, and these need to be fully explored for the benefit of residents’ health.”

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