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Flu deaths nursing home is slammed

A NURSING home at the centre of a deadly influenza outbreak had insufficient measures in place to detect the illness early, health chiefs have said.

A new report following an investigation into Nazareth House private care home in Co Donegal, where seven elderly residents died in just two weeks, found there was no procedure to identify the onset of flu.

It identified a lack of co-ordination of information available on patients with respiratory illnesses, and also pointed out poor hygiene at the centre at Fahan, near Buncrana.

The Health Information and Quality Authority said that while healthcare arrangements for residents were good, some areas of the home were unclean.

"A number of shower chairs and commodes were not in a satisfactorily clean condition and were rusty," the report said.

Seven elderly residents died between March 22 and April 8 after contracting an everyday strain of flu known as A (H3).

The inspectorate made a string of recommendations at the end of its three-day investigation on April 4, including calls to improve infection control procedures and hygiene standards at the centre.

Nazareth House spokeswoman Sister Alice Kirwan insisted staff at the centre would work quickly to address the issues highlighted in the report.

"The management and staff of Nazareth House wish to thank the inspection team for their support and are committed to addressing the recommendations," she said.

In a statement, the Sisters of Nazareth said protocols have been put in place to ensure the home receives information from other medical bodies when dealing with outbreaks.

"Infection control and emergency policies have been revised in light of the incident which include arrangements to address any future outbreaks of infectious illnesses and the management of communication during a critical event," the spokesman said.