disclosure | 

14 vulnerable residents died in 'immediate aftermath’ of care home switch, council told

It emerged some residents were transferred to facilities with confirmed outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus
RQIA found a lack of regard for patients’ safety, dignity and human rights, including the quality and availability of clothing

RQIA found a lack of regard for patients’ safety, dignity and human rights, including the quality and availability of clothing© Alamy Stock Photo

Tanya FowlesBelfast Telegraph

Multiple vulnerable residents died in the “immediate aftermath” of being moved from the Valley Nursing Home, which was ordered to close during the Covid-19 lockdown by a health watchdog.

The disclosure was made during a meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council where it further emerged some residents were transferred to facilities with confirmed outbreaks of the virus.

The Clogher facility closed when the management company, Healthcare Ireland, was deemed unfit to operate, following an unannounced RQIA inspection in October, 2020. It was home to 53 residents at the time.

Significant concerns were identified around management of Covid guidance, infection prevention and control, fire safety, care delivery and records, mandatory training, lack of stimulation for residents, control of hazardous substances, staff interaction with patients, and managerial oversight and governance.

RQIA found a lack of regard for patients’ safety, dignity and human rights, including the quality and availability of clothing.

The Health and Social Care Trusts and the Department of Health were notified of the decision to issue a notice to cancel the facility’s registration.

Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh said RQIA was closely involved in the closure, and “residents were moved elsewhere”.

He said: “Of those, 14 died in the immediate aftermath. Six who had already been moved within the Western Trust area, also died. Some residents without Covid were moved to other care homes, two of which had active outbreaks. A doctor associated with the residents was never informed or involved.”

He proposed that the Council establish whether the RQIA conducted a ‘lessons learned’ review, and if so, could it be made available as “it is very important for relatives and survivors to obtain truth”.

The proposal passed without dissent.

The relevant Health Trusts, Department of Health and RQIA were approached for comment.

The Southern and Western Trusts said: “All infection, prevention and control guidance was followed. Trust staff liaised directly with residents and their families, supporting them as appropriate throughout the transition.”

An RQIA spokesperson confirmed that due to significant regulation breaches, a notice of proposal to cancel registration was issued to Healthcare Ireland.

"On November 6, 2020, the then Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) activated the Regional Care Homes Business Continuity Plan to ensure a joined-up approach in managing the closure and ensure appropriate arrangements for the 53 residents,” they added.

The spokesperson added: “Following deregistration, a review was conducted, to ensure lessons learned from this closure were taken on board for similar situations in the future.”

The Department of Health added: “A review of the lessons learned was conducted, led by HSCB with Regional Care Homes Business Continuity Plan members, including RQIA.”

It did not mention publication of the review.


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