The owner of a nursing home where seven residents have died from Covid-19 said that nothing can prepare you for the impact of the virus.
ucy Flynn said that she is truly heartbroken after seven patients died in the Millbury Nursing Home in Navan, Co Meath.
Their first positive case of the virus was only confirmed in early March.
As a result of the first case, 15 staff were advised to self-isolate, but since then another 25 "disappeared", according to Ms Flynn, because of the "fear factor" around Covid-19.
Ms Flynn earlier requested to test every resident of the home, but was unable to do so until this weekend after HSE guidelines changed.
In total the home has now had 13 residents test positive for the virus.
"It was heartbreaking telling the families that they could not come into the nursing home and be with their loved ones, particularly at the very end stage," she said on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live.
"Residents' families come to the windows.
"They telephone, they WhatsApp and video call, but it's not the same as the human touch; sitting beside the bed, holding your mum or your dad's hand for the final time. This is truly heartbreaking."
Peadar Toibin, leader of Aontu and Meath West TD, expressed his sympathies to those who died in such "heartbreaking" circumstances and called for an independent review into the Government's handling and treatment of nursing homes and other residential care facilities, including psychiatric centres.
Meanwhile, the owner of a major Irish nursing home has admitted there was now a pervading sense of fear and worry among families of patients living in care facilities nationwide because of Covid-19.
However, Diarmuid O Dalaigh, owner of Oaklodge Nursing Home in Cloyne, Co Cork, moved to reassure families by insisting everything possible was being done to safeguard both patients and staff.
He also stressed that many Irish nursing homes have not recorded a single case of Covid-19 because of stringent control measures in place since January.
He 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."