Coronavirus: What are the new nursing home measures?

Rising concern over impact disease is having on nursing homes across country

There will be a per-head coronavirus payment of up to €800 a patient a month for each person in a nursing home.  File photograph: Getty

There will be a per-head coronavirus payment of up to €800 a patient a month for each person in a nursing home. File photograph: Getty

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced a multi million package of temporary assistance payments to support nursing homes affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a Department of Health conference, Mr Harris said there is rising concern about the impact the disease is having in nursing homes with 40 clusters identified – the majority in the east of the country.

In a bid to tackle the outbreak in nursing homes a raft of new measures have been introduced.

The measures include:

There will be a per head payment of up to €800 a patient a month for each person in a nursing home.

In addition any nursing home that has an outbreak of coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, will be able to apply for financial assistance of up to €75,000 a month for the months of April, May and June.

National and regional Covid-19 infection control teams will be appointed.

A designated member of the full-time staff in each nursing home will work full-time on Covid-19 management.

Every member of staff in nursing homes will have their temperatures checked every day.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has announce new measures to tackle Covid-19 in nursing homes on Saturday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/EPA.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has announce new measures to tackle Covid-19 in nursing homes on Saturday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/EPA.

Staff movement, especially movement of agency staff, will be curtailed. Mr Harris promised to “clamp down” on it.

The maximum cost of the package will be €72 million but only if every nursing home avails of the full amount.

Hiqa will carry out assessments of all nursing homes in the State in the coming weeks

Mr Harris denied that they had been too slow in dealing with clusters in nursing home saying that the Government had been operating on expert advice.

Mr Harris said the number of people infected by the average Covid-19 patient has dropped from 4.3 at the start of the epidemic to 2.5 now, but it needs to get to one for the virus to die out.

The announcement followed a teleconference call between Mr Harris and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Friday.