All but one of the 24 residents still at a nursing home in Co Kerry that was taken over by the HSE following a court order have tested positive for coronavirus, it has emerged.
A spokesman for the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said six former residents have died of unspecified causes over recent weeks, and a number of others have been hospitalised.
HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor said she was aware “there have been six deaths of people who have tested positive for Covid within that facility”.
A Hiqa inspection of Oaklands Nursing Home, Derry, Listowel, on November 4th, found that residents who had tested positive for the virus were mingling with others who did not have the disease, Listowel District Court heard on Thursday before granting an order putting the HSE in charge.
There was no objection to the order from the company that operated the nursing home, Bolden (Nursing) Ltd. The company is owned by Michael O'Donoghue, with an address in Listowel, and Michael Joseph O'Donoghue and Mary O'Donoghue, of a separate address in Listowel, according to the latest annual report filed to the Companies Registration Office. It does not operate any other nursing homes.
The nursing home, which can house up to 51 residents, was inspected by Hiqa in June of this year, again in September, and twice earlier this month. The HSE said it provided a high level of support to the nursing home in recent weeks as it faced “a significant outbreak” of the virus.
The concern for residents was such that the HSE “was required to step in to provide the clinical governance for a period”, HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said in a statement.
Earlier this week, the HSE handed the clinical governance for Oaklands back to its owners as it had stabilised the situation relating to coronavirus, it said.
“We understand that Hiqa was still not satisfied with a range of issues, including the owners’ governance arrangements.”
The latest accounts filed for Bolden show it lost €133,543 in 2018, having made a profit of €444,777 the previous year. The accumulated profits at the end of 2018 were €2.4 million.
The Hiqa report on the June inspection of the nursing home was published earlier this month. According to the report, inspectors received positive feedback from the 38 residents then living in the home, but observed insufficient staff supervision, especially in relation to infection control.
The registered provider confirmed to the inspectors that there had been no person in charge of the centre since May 8th, though the report acknowledged that the provider was actively attempting to recruit a qualified person.
The inspectors said that Bolden was overly reliant on one person and that it appeared that communication had broken down between the two members of the company’s board.
On the day after the inspection, one of the company’s directors resigned, according to the report, and in July two new directors were appointed. A new general manager had also been appointed, according to the report.
The report also said the centre acted as "pension agents for a number of residents" and was not complying with the rules of the Department of Social Protection whereby their full pension had to be paid to a resident before any deductions were made.
It said the provider had since told the inspectors it no longer acted as a pension agent for residents.
At the time, Michael O’Donoghue told Radio Kerry he had been running the business since his parents had retired and that he and the staff had been working to address the issues raised by Hiqa.