Dublin nursing home to close as it ‘cannot meet regulatory requirements’

St Mary’s Centre on Merrion Road says Covid-19 has had no bearing on decision

St Mary’s Centre (Telford) on Merrion Road said the home, which has 35 residents, has remained free of Covid-19.

St Mary’s Centre (Telford) on Merrion Road said the home, which has 35 residents, has remained free of Covid-19.

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A south Dublin nursing home is closing because it is unable to meet its statutory and regulatory requirements to operate at full capacity or fund the costs needed to meet them.

St Mary’s Centre (Telford) on Merrion Road said the Covid-19 pandemic had no bearing on the decision to close and that the home, which has 35 residents, has remained free of the disease.

The care home said the “current and projected levels of funding from the HSE mean that the nursing home will not be able to meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements to operate at 100 per cent capacity” and that it was currently operating at 60 per cent capacity.

“This decision was reached by the board following a number of meetings and detailed reviews concerning the funding of the nursing home, the necessary implications for the viability of the nursing home and its capacity to meet statutory and regulatory requirements,” said the home.

St Mary’s said in a statement it could not recruit and retain staff needed “to provide the high standard of care of the residents to which the board aspires” or ensure full compliance with the requirements sought by State watchdog the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

The facility is located on a campus beside St Vincent’s hospital and is governed and run under the ethos of the Sisters of Charity.

“We have taken this extraordinarily difficult decision to wind down the operations of the nursing home in a careful and considered manner,” the home said.

“We have not been able to secure capital funding to address necessary infrastructure issues or revenue funding to meet current and anticipated operative costs so we have no alternative but to close.”

St Mary’s was the subject of a highly critical report in 2017 by Hiqa whose inspectors found it had failed to respond effectively to the needs of frail and highly dependent residents. A follow-up inspection by Hiqa in 2018 found that the home was still not complying with some regulations.

Transfer of residents

The home said the closure is being planned and organised over “the necessary period of time”, and that it intends to consult staff, residents and their families and keep in regular contact to ensure the transfers of residents happen “as smoothly as possible and with the minimum of disruption”.

Mervyn Taylor, executive director of Sage Advocacy, a support service for vulnerable adults, said the closure of St Mary’s was a concern. He called for further research to assess the strength of the nursing home sector to cope in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We hope that this is not the start of a process of other closures and we think that some resilience study of the sector is required post-Covid to assess the level of risk in the event that more nursing homes, particularly smaller providers, want to get out of the market,” he said.