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Nursing home staff must take mandatory infection control training as threat of Covid-19 looms again


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All nursing home staff will have to undergo mandatory training in infection control to help prevent residents suffering the devastating effects of a second wave of Covid-19 in the coming months.

The recommendation is one of the key demands in the report of a Government-appointed expert panel who investigated nursing homes in the wake of the first phase of the pandemic.

They will deliver their findings this afternoon.

Nursing home residents accounted for more than half Covid-19 deaths so far after the virus swept through several of the private and public facilities.

In some cases Hiqa found poor infection control standards which led to serious gaps in the battle to contain the virus.

Today’s report calls for infection control training to be compulsory for staff and said the responsibility for this rests with the nursing home.

The panel, chaired by Prof Cecily Kelleher of UCD, also calls for better communication channels between nursing homes and families of residents.

There was criticism by some families that they were not informed early enough about cases of the virus where a loved one was living.

Nursing Homes Ireland also asked that nursing homes be alerted if there is an outbreak of the virus found by public health officials nearby in a workplace or other setting.

This would allow nursing homes to introduce protections such as visitor restrictions to prevent the virus getting into the home.

The Cabinet is due to consider the recommendations which could also see staff having to get the winter flu vaccine.

Vaccination is currently voluntary but the take up is below target annually.

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