Covid-19: Beaumont Hospital to use kidney association building

Facility used by kidney transplant patients, dialysis patients and families during stays

Dublin's Beaumont Hospital has taken over a 13-room residential facility used by the Irish Kidney Association on its campus for use as part of Covid-19 contingency planning.

The building was used by kidney transplant patients, dialysis patients and their families during extended stays.

In a letter sent on Friday to the association, the hospital’s chief operations officer, Valerie Caffrey, wrote that the facility was being sequestered as part of contingency planning and voluntary staff and service users would not be able to use it until further notice. An undertaking has been given that the facility will be handed back in the appropriate condition when possible.

Users of the facility will now be accommodated in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin Airport, said association chief executive Mark Murphy. Beaumont is home to the National Kidney Transplant Service and has the largest renal treatment facility in the country, catering for 1,027 patients.

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Mr Murphy said he believed the facility would “provide a very suitable asset to Beaumont Hospital in combatting Covid-19”. He said that the association’s renal support centre had proven “how hotel-like accommodation on the campus of a hospital not only offers convenience to its users but it can alleviate an awful lot of unnecessary use of hospital beds when hotel facilities would suffice”.

Isolation unit

The facility is used by families and patients from all over the country. He said he was unsure exactly how the Health Service Executive and Beaumont would use the facility, but suggested it could be an effective isolation unit for patients not in need of intensive care, or could become a residential facility for staff who cannot go home if workloads or infection control protocols do not permit it. The rooms are all en suite.

“We are exceptionally proud of the benefits to patients that this facility, which has been operating for 20 years, allows us to provide. We understand that renal patients will be inconvenienced but these are unprecedented times. Alternative accommodation has been organised for our service users,” he said.

The association has already postponed its organ donation awareness week, which raises funds that support its work. It is encouraging the public to Freetext Kidney to 50300 to donate €4. When cancelling the event, Mr Murphy said the association’s “overall priority is to keep our patients and carers safe”.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times