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The HSE has created a network of expert support teams across Cork and Kerry to provide assistance to residential facilities for older people during the Covid-19 crisis.

These support teams are made up of staff from acute hospitals and community services, with support from Public Health and infection control professionals.

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Nursing home residents are amongst the most vulnerable members of society, and this move by the HSE recognises the challenges which private nursing homes are facing at the moment. As of April 16, COVID-19 outbreaks had reported in 254 community settings in Ireland including clusters in 163 nursing homes with 254 associated deaths. (Note – it is not currently possible to provide a break-down of these figures by region).

The teams are led by experienced nurse managers from Cork Kerry Community Healthcare and are made up of senior doctors and nurses from acute hospitals and the community service, including  consultant geriatricians from Cork University Hospital, Mercy University Hospital, Bantry General Hospital and Kerry University Hospital.

These HSE Clinical Support Teams have been providing expert clinical support to Nursing Managers and General Practitioners in residential facilities for several weeks.

Dr. Paul Gallagher, Cork University Hospital said:

“We want to reassure the public that there are very clear pathways set up to make sure that every resident in every nursing home and residential facility gets the appropriate medical and nursing care at the right time and in the right care setting, in keeping with their own values and expectations. We want to stress that transfer to acute hospitals is arranged when clinically appropriate, and that acute hospitals are there to support all members of the community.”

All private nursing home and residential care facilities in Cork and Kerry (more than 90) have been contacted by a member of the local Clinical Support teams.

Julie Hennessy, Coordinator for the Clinical Support Teams explained:

“The support offered so far has included:

  • Expert advice
  • Support for management
  • Public Health guidance
  • Occupational Health advice
  • Supply of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Assistance in sourcing staff where needed.
  • Support in sourcing accommodation for staff where it’s needed.”

All nursing homes and residential facilities have direct contact details for HSE Community Support Teams in their area, and these teams are available seven days a week.

Dr Gallagher added:

“Any Covid-19 outbreaks in residential settings have been effectively managed, with seamless co-operation between community and hospital sectors.”


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