Cork nursing home did not isolate residents with Covid-19, inspection finds

Resident with Covid-19 found in communal area by Hiqa inspector on unannounced visit

Hiqa published  31 inspection reports into nursing homes, some of which had experienced substantial Covid-19 outbreaks. File photograph

Hiqa published 31 inspection reports into nursing homes, some of which had experienced substantial Covid-19 outbreaks. File photograph


A Cork nursing home failed to properly isolate a number of Covid-positive residents during an outbreak of the virus, according to an inspection report.

St Luke’s nursing home in Mahon was in the middle of a large Covid outbreak last January when a Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) inspector made an unannounced visit.

He found a resident who had tested positive and had not yet completed the required isolation period “sitting in a chair in a communal area beside the nurses’ desk,” thus posing a transmission risk to other residents and staff.

“The inspector queried if it would be more appropriate for this resident to be accommodated in the designated isolation unit where there was less risk of the resident transmitting the virus to other residents. The inspector was informed that this would be done as a matter of urgency.”

A second resident “considered to be positive for the virus” was accommodated in a single room, but the door was open. Management said this was due to the risk of falls.

During the outbreak, most residents were confined to their bedrooms so “the lived experience for residents at this time was not in keeping with the overall vision for the centre,” according to the report.

On arrival, the inspector found clinical waste “piled high” in yellow bags, as the bins were full. The gate to the yard was open, as a waste collection was expected.

Overall during the outbreak, which started in December 2020, seven residents died, the report states.

Inspection reports

Hiqa published a total of 31 inspection reports into nursing homes on Friday, some of which had experienced substantial Covid-19 outbreaks.

At Teach Altra in Newmarket, Co Cork, inspectors found residents were at risk of infection “as a result of the provider failing to ensure that procedures, consistent with the standards for infection prevention and control were implemented by staff”.

In particular the centre failed to show it was complying with public health and infection control guidelines for Covid-19, the report states. The home recorded 30 cases among residents, and an unspecified number of deaths, as well as 28 cases among staff following an outbreak last January.

At TLC nursing home in Santry, Co Dublin, 71 residents and 61 staff members had tested positive at the time of an inspection in February, and 11 residents had died.

The centre had experienced two earlier outbreaks during the pandemic, in April and September 2020, during which 16 residents and 17 staff had tested positive.

Cherryfield Lodge nursing home in Milltown Park, Dublin, experienced an outbreak from April to June last year. Nine residents contracted the virus and seven died.

At Moorehall Lodge in Drogheda, Co Louth, 21 residents were Covid-positive on the day it was inspected in January, and 20 more were being tested.

Twenty staff were infected and 11 more were on Covid-related leave.

While there were enough nursing and care staff on duty on the day of inspection, these did not know the residents well “and therefore a person-centred approach was not possible”.

At St Theresa’s nursing home in Thurles, Co Tipperary, inspectors criticised the lack of a robust management structure with good governance and effective oversight. They found the staffing resource was “inadequate” and that the centre was not sufficiently staffed to cope with an outbreak of Covid-19.

The report notes the home has remained free of the virus.