HIQA and nursing homes

 

Sir, – Michael Storey (Letters, April 28th) comments on the Health Information and Quality Authority’s “questionnaire” for nursing homes and our preparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic.

To protect residents and care staff from the risk of infection and reduce the increasing pressure on health and social care services, HIQA took the decision in early March to suspend all routine inspections of residential services. Our inspectors have been in frequent contact with providers since this time, and I have issued a series of communications to all services under HIQA’s remit providing information and updates on the regulatory process.

HIQA’s recently published regulatory assessment framework on the preparedness of nursing homes for a Covid-19 outbreak follows an earlier communication issued to providers on March 23rd. This framework aims to support services that are currently free from Covid-19 to prepare for a possible outbreak, and includes a checklist for providers to self-assess their contingency plans.

In addition, HIQA’s Infection Prevention and Control Hub offers the staff and providers of residential-care settings quick access to support and expert advice on infection prevention and control measures when caring for a resident with confirmed or suspected Covid-19. An escalation pathway with the HSE ensures that any concerns raised are brought to the HSE for immediate action so that services can get the practical help they need.

HIQA’s priority is and remains the safety and wellbeing of people who may be vulnerable. – Yours, etc,

MARY DUNNION,

Chief Inspector

of Social Services,

Health Information

and Quality Authority,

Mahon, Cork.