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Residents at Laois residential centre where eight died with Covid-19 to have conditions reviewed

Residents at the Maryborough Centre are being medically reviewed by consultants from nearby Portlaoise Hospital.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/Tyler Olson

Updated Apr 16th 2020, 8:54 AM

THE HSE HAS said that 17 people who are still residing at a residential centre in Laois where eight patients with Covid-19 died over the bank holiday weekend will have their conditions reviewed.

All 17 are being managed as if they are Covid-19 positive regardless of test results or the presence of symptoms at the Maryborough Centre for Psychiatry of Old Age, located in St Fintan’s Campus in Portlaoise.

So far, there have been 444 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in Ireland. Around half of these were in nursing homes or other residential care settings. 

As far back as 6 March, Nursing Homes Ireland had moved to restrict visitors to its facilities but there has since been over 200 clusters of the virus in Irish nursing homes.

There has been some criticism of the government’s response in nursing homes so far, with the health minister Simon Harris announcing new supports of the sector earlier this month

Harris is to meet with Nursing Homes Ireland tomorrow to discuss the outbreak and see what else can be done to slow the spread of the virus in the sector. 

Yesterday, trade union Siptu reached an agreement with the HSE on the voluntary redeployment of health workers to private nursing homes which are facing staffing issues as workers with symptoms or who were in close contact with cases must self isolate.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain – the HSE’s national lead for integrated care – said that if a situation arose in a particular residential setting that became “unmanageable”, the possibility of moving residents elsewhere to safeguard against the virus would be explored.

On the same programme, Mary Dunnion from independent body Hiqa said that Covid-19 is currently present in around 30% of nursing homes in the country and it was important for a “national response” to help out these centres as well as being able to support the remaining 70% to prevent and contain the virus spreading there.

“I think we’re all learning and there’ll be significant lessons when this ends,” Dunnion said. “This pandemic has challenged all areas of health and social services [...] processes are now in place supporting nursing homes.”

In a statement, the HSE said it wanted to express its sincere sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased at Maryborough. In all, nine people died at the centre last weekend – aged between 66 and 84 – and eight had tested positive for Covid-19.

After this cohort were diagnosed, public health policy was followed daily with a separate nursing roster caring for the residents who had no symptoms to ensure isolation. 

Additional support is being made available to the families of the remaining residents who are updated regularly, the HSE said.

“While a number of staff are currently on sick leave, the current compliment of staff is sufficient to manage the centre,” it said. “A number of additonal staff were redeployed to the Maryborough Centre in the week prior to Easter weekend following the diagnosis of Covid-19 in the resident group and to support their greater care needs.”

Ní Bhriain said that this facility would have had multiple beds in one room, and action was taken to ensure that those without systems were kept together. 

She added that decisions were taken on the levels of care that would be “appropriate” for those who had gotten sick, and said she was “deeply sorry” to hear about those who had died.

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All remaining residents have been medically reviewed by consultants from Portlaoise Hopsital. 

These consultants and a palliative care consultant will continue to provide daily/as required intervention in conjunction with the consultant psychiatrist and nursing staff, the HSE said.

It added that occupational supports and debriefing are being offered to staff at the centre following the deaths. 

With reporting from Adam Daly

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