HSE responds to query on nursing home outbreaks

HSE Community Healthcare West has declined to comment on individual cases or outbreaks of Covid-19 at nursing homes in County Roscommon but outlined the supports put in place at facilities in the event of an outbreak of the virus.

A statement to the Roscommon People this week read: ‘HSE Community Healthcare West continues to work with nursing homes to ensure that the necessary supports are put in place to manage an outbreak.

‘When an outbreak is confirmed, the HSE Department of Public Health establishes an Outbreak Control Team and provides advice and guidance on the issues which are key to bringing the outbreak under control such as: management of Covid-19 positive patients; information on symptoms and actions to be taken if symptoms develop; how and when to self-isolate or restrict movements; environmental cleaning; infection prevention and control advice, and symptom monitoring for close contacts.

‘Community Healthcare West and services for Older People are in contact with the nursing homes on an ongoing basis to provide the necessary operational supports and work through challenges presenting such as staffing challenges.

‘When COVID-19 is circulating in the community, we can expect to discover some outbreaks in healthcare facilities despite everyone’s best efforts. The best way of reducing the number of these outbreaks is to reduce the level of community transmission around the country.

‘To protect the vulnerable, including residents of nursing homes and other long-term residential facilities, we need to do everything we can to stop the transmission of Covid-19.

‘The most important action we can take to protect ourselves and others from Covid-19 is to follow the public health advice: ensure regular hand washing; practice good respiratory hygiene; keep 2m between yourself and other people; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; wear a mask where indicated.’