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'Everything is being done' - nursing home owner reassures families

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Concern: Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh, managing director of Oaklodge Nursing Home, with his family Naoise, Bréanainn, Siún, Julie and Finin. Photo: Gerard McCarthy

Concern: Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh, managing director of Oaklodge Nursing Home, with his family Naoise, Bréanainn, Siún, Julie and Finin. Photo: Gerard McCarthy

Concern: Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh, managing director of Oaklodge Nursing Home, with his family Naoise, Bréanainn, Siún, Julie and Finin. Photo: Gerard McCarthy

The owner of a major nursing home has admitted there is now a pervading sense of fear and worry nationwide amongst some families of patients living in care.

However, Oaklodge Nursing Home owner Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh moved to reassure families by insisting everything possible was being done to safeguard patients and staff - and stressed many nursing homes have not recorded a single case of the coronavirus.

He also reassured families that, as well as stringent infection prevention measures, nursing homes are now gaining vital access to additional staff and personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies.

"If there is one message I want to get out it is to reassure families whose loved ones are in nursing homes," he said.

"Many families are worried and fearful. That is understandable in the circumstances.

"But I want to reassure them that nursing homes and care facilities are doing everything possible to protect both patients and staff."

Oaklodge has not recorded a case of the virus and, like many other care facilities, has imposed stringent measures to protect patients.

The Cork nursing home, which caters for 64 residents, is now a trial facility for a high-tech early warning system for Covid-19 symptoms developed by Cork University Hospital (CUH).

"Thankfully we have not seen any Covid-19 cases to date as a result of the stringent measures we have in place, but we cannot be complacent and must forward-plan to ensure the safety and best quality care possible for our residents should it infiltrate into our home," Mr Ó Dálaigh said.

"We are therefore putting a call out for registered nurses, in addition to unskilled caring and compassionate people that may want a career change or find themselves out of work following the outbreak of Covid-19."

Oaklodge has 83 staff but wants a recruitment panel so that if staff have to take time off for precautionary isolation, other staff are immediately available.

The HSE will now redeploy health care staff to the nursing home sector if required.

Mr Ó Dálaigh said his priority is also to ensure they have a minimum one-week emergency supply of all PPE.

"We wanted to have a one-week emergency supply of PPE to hand at all times but securing aprons has been a challenge," he said.

"The HSE has now assured us it will assist with supplies and Hiqa are also getting involved."

Irish Independent


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