‘Faith restored in people’, says director of nursing at Galway home after public appeal

Nurses, carers and GPs from across Ireland offered to help home after Covid-19 outbreak

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms MacGabhann said a nurse formerly employed at the Nightingale nursing home who is now based in Australia got in touch to try to offer help. Photograph: Joe Shaughnessy

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms MacGabhann said a nurse formerly employed at the Nightingale nursing home who is now based in Australia got in touch to try to offer help. Photograph: Joe Shaughnessy

 

The director of a Galway nursing home where the majority of staff and 26 out of 28 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus has said her faith in people has been restored after many across the country contacted her to offer assistance.

Patricia MacGabhann, director of nursing at the Nightingale Nursing Home, Ahascragh, said nurses, carers and GPs from across Ireland have contacted her trying to help. Ms MacGabhann made a plea for assistance on Joe Duffy’s Liveline programme on RTÉ Radio 1.

Ms MacGabhann had said a resident of the home had been admitted on Monday to Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe with Covid-19. Subsequently the entire nursing home was tested and 25 of the 27 patients were found to be positive. All but four staff were positive, too. As a result one nurse and one care worker had been working 13-hour shifts to care for patients. One resident died from the virus and two have been hospitalised.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms MacGabhann said a nurse formerly employed at the Nightingale who is now based in Australia has been in touch “trying desperately to find a way to help”.

On Friday a lorry arrived at the home with dietary supplements for the residents, she said.

“People have shown themselves to be so kind and we are so, so grateful,” Ms MacGabhann said.

Ms MacGabhann, who is isolating at home with Covid-19, said her decision to speak publicly had nothing to do with “bashing the HSE” but was about “advocating on behalf of my residents and staff”.

After she and Dr Martin Daly, the general practitioner to a third of the centre’s residents, spoke out on Thursday the HSE provided additional staff. HSE officials have said that staff are rostered to support the care home for the coming days.

Ms MacGabhann said: “I guess my faith in people has been restored hugely.” She paid tribute to nurse Mari and carer Paula, both of whom have worked 13-hour shifts every day.