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Self-assessment checklist for nursing homes on Covid-19 preparations published by Hiqa

On-site inspections to see how prepared nursing homes are for an outbreak will begin next week.

Image: Shutterstock/linerpics

A CHECKLIST FOR nursing homes in Ireland to complete has been published today by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) to ensure facilities are prepared for Covid-19 cases.

A document published today by Hiqa contains an assessment to see how prepared nursing homes that do not have cases of Covid-19 are for a potential outbreak. 

Nursing homes will have to complete a self-assessment and prepare for an on-site inspection from social service providers from 29 April onwards. 

The document reminds that there will be access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff working in nursing homes, a voluntary redeployment of staff to designated centres and access to testing and results. 

The assessment framework will look at how prepared each facility is to deal with a Covid-19 outbreak, their knowledge of support resources available and other measures, such as ensuring the facility is safe for residents at this time. 

The self-assessment will be followed by an inspection from social service providers to verify that the care home is complying with regulations. 

It is not required to submit the self-assessments to the chief inspector, but it must be ready and available on the day of the on-site assessment by social service providers, which begin next week. 

Inspectors will not enter areas of the facility occupied by residents and will limit the amount of contact with staff during the assessments. 

For the self-assessment, each nursing home will be asked a serious of questions about the preparedness for a potential outbreak of Covid-19. These will be judged under their level of compliance. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said yesterday that it “wouldn’t make sense” to have had a strategy to completely prevent the spread of the disease into nursing homes, based on the infection rate of the virus.

There are coronavirus cases in around 30% of all nursing homes (around 200 centres), and half of all Covid-19 related deaths have been in nursing-home settings.

“This is a very transmissible virus,” Dr Holohan said. “It’s more transmissible than the flu. It’s not realistic for us to think that we could keep this entirely out of nursing homes when we consider that fact.”

He said that their efforts would be focused instead on preventing the spread from one person to another into nursing homes, or within a nursing home. 

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