By Michelle Crean
Extra staff are urgently required by the HSE to deal with COVID outbreaks in healthcare settings. At present, there are more than 50 outbreaks in residential settings across Cork and Kerry which includes private nursing homes, community hospitals, disability centres and mental health services with the majority of these outbreaks in residential centres for older people.
This week the HSE said that “while the scale and impact of the outbreaks varies, we can confirm that we are currently supporting a significant number of residential centres in crisis”.
“Our absolute priority in all cases is to make sure the residents of nursing homes, whether the facility is public or private, continue to receive the care they need, despite the challenge presented by COVID-19 related staff leave,” the HSE said in a statement to the Killarney Advertiser.
“The level of staff ill with COVID-19 across the health service means that it is difficult for some locations to maintain their staffing at the levels needed, and this is a constant challenge. Staff are going to heroic lengths to make sure that residents continue to receive the care they need.”
The HSE said that “where possible” they have redeployed staff, particularly nurses and healthcare assistants.
“We are incredibly grateful to these staff for agreeing to be redeployed at short notice to settings in crisis due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
“We have requested the assistance of the Defence Forces in providing support around cleaning and waste disposal at a number of nursing homes in crisis, allowing our nurses and healthcare assistants to focus on the care of residents and patients.
“Even with that support, we still urgently require more staff, particularly nurses and/or healthcare assistants.” Any nurses and healthcare assistants who are not currently involved in direct care of patients or residents and who are available can contact Chief Officer Michael Fitzgerald directly on MichaelM.Fitzgerald@hse.ie.
“The best way for everyone else to support the efforts of healthcare workers is to simply stay at home as much as possible.”