Thursday, 15 July 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
The pandemic has been a particularly difficult time for all residents, relatives and staff of our nursing homes. As the House will be aware, the Covid-19 nursing home expert panel established last year provided a comprehensive report and package of recommendations in respect of the ongoing response to Covid-19 and longer-term strategic reform of the care of older persons. Many of the short and medium-term recommendations of the Covid-19 nursing home expert panel report have been implemented. Several of these relate to the delivery of a broad suite of supports provided to private nursing homes, including free personal protective equipment, serial testing, HSE Covid-19 response teams, infection prevention and control training and temporary accommodation for staff. Continued learning and understanding of the progression of the disease in Ireland is an integral part of those recommendations. There has been significant and ongoing consideration of the impact of the pandemic. There have been various examinations and reports with a focus on Covid-19, its impact on nursing homes and the pandemic learnings that can inform future policy, regulation and the model of care for older people.
There has been a clear national commitment to continue to learn from the pandemic as the national and international understanding of the virus evolves. Where necessary we will ensure that the public health led approach evolves as evidence and learning materialises. The findings of these reports confirm that the infectious nature of Covid-19 makes it difficult to prevent and control in residential care settings. I look forward to supporting the significant work that is in train to further improve services for older persons.