Nothing is right…I just know I’m not myself’ — HIQA reports tell of Covid toll in nursing homes

One nursing home where nine residents died from Covid-19 could not provide adequate documentation and tracking of those at the centre, meaning HIQA couldn’t assess the total number of people who had tested positive for the coronavirus and how many residents had recovered.

Nine residents passed away in just four weeks from Covid-19 at the Brookvale Manor Private Nursing Home in Ballyhaunis in Co Mayo, but inspectors found that a resident displaying possible signs and symptoms of the virus was not transferred to hospital for treatment in line with their care plan and the record did not include a rationale for the decision not to transfer.

In addition, “a resident who had displayed possible signs and symptoms had not been referred for testing in a timely manner; the resident subsequently tested positive on transfer to hospital”.

The report on Brookvale Manor is just one of 31 published by the Health Information and Quality Authority, with many outlining the shortcomings in some nursing homes in dealing with the pandemic, and the impact on residents, including those who avoided infection.

Brookvale Manor, operated by Brindley Manor Federation of Nursing Homes Limited, had 32 residents and was found to be non-compliant on all nine regulations reviewed by HIQA.

Problems included inadequate staffing levels and according to the inspection report, while an emergency response team was in place for the Covid outbreak, inspectors found there was no nurse on day duty for six hours on April 24 “which exposed residents to the risk of having no access to clinical care”.

A total of nine of the centre’s residents had died with Covid-19 between 18 April and 13 May.

At the TLC Citywest in Dublin, operated by Cubedale Limited, 74 residents had tested positive for Covid-19 at the facility, and 29 residents had died. In addition, 76 staff members had tested positive.

The impact was profound.

“Residents struggled to articulate the impact the outbreak had on them,” the report said. “One lady said: ‘Nothing is right, I can’t explain what is wrong but I just know I’m not myself.’

“One resident said she was really bored and her mood was low because there was nothing to do and nothing to look forward to.”

At the Asgard Lodge Nursing Home in Arklow in Co Wicklow, home to 30 residents, 30 residents had tested positive for Covid-19, six of whom had passed away, while 17 staff had also tested positive.

“Inspectors found that the management structure in place, which had provided a good service prior to Covid-19 outbreak, was not effectively monitoring the safety of the service,” HIQA said.

The centre was not clean, with insufficient cleaning staff and non-compliance with regulations to prevent and manage Covid outbreaks.

An urgent action plan was needed, with a deep clean of the premises and “improved oversight of staff to ensure PPE is used in line with best practice”.

At Dealgan House Nursing Home in Dundalk in Co Louth, one resident told the inspectors that they were ‘sick of looking at the same wall for more than eight weeks’.

That centre is run by Dealgan House Nursing Home Limited, and during the Covid outbreak there in April more than 60% of all staff, including 70% of the nursing staff, were unable to work due to contracting the virus.

HIQA said “there was no clear protocol in place to ensure that all staff knew what to do in the event of a suspected case” at the centre.

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