Just 3 people sourced to help with Covid outbreak at Galway nursing home since Sunday

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Roscommon-Galway TD Claire Kerrane has said that it is “shocking and inexcusable” that so few staff have been sourced to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Ballinasloe.

The HSE informed Deputy Kerrane today that just two care assistants and one nurse have been sourced to work night shifts, and that this will only be until Sunday.

The director of nursing at the Nightingale Nursing Home confirmed that 22 of 24 residents  have tested positive for Covid-19, as well as a number of staff. One resident has sadly passed away since being diagnosed with the disease.

Deputy Kerrane has called for healthcare assistants identified during the Be On Call for Ireland initiative to be recruited urgently.

“I am deeply troubled by severe staff shortages at a Galway care home following a Covid-19 outbreak,” said Deputy Kerrane.

“I have spoken with the HSE and they have confirmed to me that the outbreak was notified to Public Health in the Galway care home on Sunday 18th October and the HSE have been trying to source additional staff since then.

“They told me that in addition to the nurses self-isolating after receiving positive tests, 8 out of 12 care assistants have also tested positive. This is extremely concerning and my thoughts are with all of the staff, residents and their families at this difficult time.”

The Sinn Féin TD said that it is extremely concerning that the home has been trying to seek additional staff cover for days now.

“Staffing shortages, especially of this scale, are indefensible and the HSE must act to address this.

“I am alarmed that this may leave residents with an unsafe level of support, as well as putting huge pressure on the two staff members who remain in work.”

217 healthcare assistants were identified during the Be On Call For Ireland initiative and remain available but have not been recruited, said the TD, and she called for these staff to be recruited urgently.

The Roscommon-Galway TD said she is concerned that this is ‘nowhere near what is needed’ and that the home will continue to be severely under-staffed.

“Such staff shortages are completely inexcusable and potentially dangerous. It is shocking that the HSE has been unable to source more staff,” added Deputy Kerrane.

“I will remain in contact with the HSE to do everything I can to ensure further staff are put in place urgently.

“Our older citizens cannot be abandoned in this pandemic and they are entitled to safe care and adequate support as an absolute minimum. The state has a duty to protect everyone in care homes and must prioritise their safety.”