Sean Donovan with Marie Leahy, director of nursing at Killeline Care Centre, Newcastle West
NURSING home owners, staff and residents have been on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) CEO Tadhg Daly said that while Covid-19 presented great pain for the nursing home sector, it also brought out the very best in people.
“Nursing homes fed back to NHI they received tremendous support from their local communities during Covid-19, with people connecting with residents from afar, providing them with gifts, and supporting staff during what has been a very demanding and stressful time,” he said.
The NHI has launched a national campaign acknowledging the excellent support provided by communities to nursing homes during Covid-19. NHI’s Caring Together campaign brings together stories of community and staff solidarity with nursing home residents during Covid-19.
One of those to feature is Sean Donovan, aged in his mid-seventies, from Loughill. He is a resident in Killeline Care Centre in Newcastle West. Covid was not kind to Sean.
During the pandemic he lost his beloved wife Bridget to cancer. Covid meant that during his wife’s final days in Milford Hospice, he was unable to spend precious moments by her bedside.
After Bridget passed away on Easter Sunday, Sean, tragically, was unable to attend her funeral due to the restrictions. However, the care team at Killeline, working with his family and the local undertaker came together to arrange for the funeral cortege to drive into the driveway of Killeline Care Centre.
Marie Leahy, director of nursing, said it meant that Sean could pay his respects to his beautiful wife as she went on her final journey.
In the weeks after the burial, Marie was worried about Sean. She said, understandably, he was very lonely and sad. Marie spoke with Sean’s daughter Ann. Marie explained to Ann that she would like to take Sean to visit his wife’s burial place. This meant everything to Sean.
The day came and Marie and Sean set off to Ballyhahill graveyard arm-in-arm with beautiful red roses to place on Bridget’s grave. Sean’s spirits rose when he finally set sight on his wife’s resting place and proudly placed his roses on her grave.
Sean took this special time to talk and pray to his wife, only then when he was ready, Marie and Sean set out on their journey home.
In the most difficult of circumstances during and after Sean’s loss – Sean’s family, the care team at Killeline and the community came together to care together for Sean.
Marie said: “This year has been such a challenging time for all our residents and their families. Anything my team or I can do, no matter how big or small to make it easier on everyone has always been a priority.”
Nursing homes and people with an attachment to them are asked to tell their caring together stories by linking in with Nursing Homes Ireland via its Facebook – facebook.com/nursinghomesireland and Twitter channels @NursingHomesIre by using the hashtag #CaringTogether
Tadhg Daly said the campaign is to exemplify and acknowledge the tremendous support that has been provided by communities.
“This has brought great happiness to nursing home residents and strengthened their resolve. It has also strengthened staff as they meet the challenges presented by Covid-19. We take this opportunity to thank all those who have reached out to nursing homes and supported them during the pandemic.”