A SIGNIFICANT number of deaths have occurred in a nursing home in Limerick as staff struggled to contain the virus in recent weeks, the Limerick Leader has learned.
A number of relatives of residents at the facility contacted the Leader to raise concerns about “the frightening Covid-19 situation” inside the nursing home which has tragically resulted in multiple deaths.
While some sources say the number of fatalities may have reached double figures, this has not been confirmed by nursing home management who declined to comment this week.
Relatives claim that an acute shortage of staff in recent weeks including the departure of a senior staff member has coincided with the “alarming” number of deaths.
It is understood the HSE have been notified and are providing assistance in terms of staff and support to assist the management with the challenges they are facing.
Relatives further claim there are a number of Covid-19 positive residents at the nursing home and there hasn’t been adequate isolation of these patients from the non Covid residents.
“There are residents with the virus on the same floor as other residents, the staff are over worked,” said one caller who explained they are in fear for their relative’s life. “I won’t stop until our elderly are given the same treatment as everyone else and I’m not going to sit back and hear of more deaths in the nursing home or any for that matter,” they continued.
It is understood that all staff and service users at the nursing home were tested for Covid-19 this week with testing expected to be carried out in the coming days across all the 22 private and voluntary nursing homes operating in Limerick.
In a statement to the Leader the HSE said: “The HSE has created a network of expert support teams across counties Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary to provide assistance to residential facilities for older people during the Covid-19 crisis. The HSE is, and has been since early March, been working closely with a wide range of residential care services, including private nursing homes, in relation to the control of outbreaks of Covid-19 in such centres.
“The support offered so far has included expert advice, support for management, public health guidance, occupational health advice, supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), providing staff and assistance in sourcing staff where needed.”
Meanwhile, the Limerick Leader has learned that over 50 staff at St John’s Hospital are currently off work and self-isolating after testing positive for, or coming into contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19. A source at St John's Hospital said: “The figure is over 50. Some have the coronavirus and others have to self isolate. It has hit us hard.” As a result of the staffing issue, St John’s Hospital is currently unable to accept transfers from University Hospital Limerick. St John’s Injury Unit continues to operate as normal seven days a week from 8am to 7pm.
Limerick now has over 400 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
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