'it's dreadful' HSE 'totally abandoned' nursing home where majority of residents and staff tested positive for Covid-19, owner claims
The owner of a nursing home in Galway where 26 of its 28 residents tested positive for Covid-19, said they have abandoned by the HSE.
Since all but three tested staff tested positive on Tuesday night only one nurse and two care assistants are available to care for the 27 residents of Nightingale Nursing Home in Ballinasloe.
One resident has already died.
Distraught owner Patricia McGowan said they have begged the HSE for help.
“It’s dreadful. It’s beyond words. We just feel totally abandoned. Our residents have been abandoned," she said.
“It feels like nobody cares."
Patricia says when she contacted the HSE to plead for help she was told: ”Leave it with me. Don’t panic.”
“How can we not panic? We have over twenty people down there to mind.
“All of our staff are off sick. I’m off sick myself, to me it feels like a head cold but it’s Covid and I can’t go down there and help.
“I feel physically I would be able to help but I’m not allowed. A number of staff are asymptomatic and they are desperate to help but they can’t. And nobody else is helping us.
“We have been in contact with the HSE since our results came in on Tuesday night. We are in daily contact with them, multiple times every day.
“They sent us a nurse and a carer last night and they were to send us two carers today and nobody arrived.
“The nurse that’s on today has been doing 13 hours shifts and she is asthmatic herself. And not even a phone call to say these carers have fallen through. IIt was left to her to try and chase the HSE. All we keep getting is leave it with us.
“My take on it is if that was you own mother in the bed and the nurse said “Leave it with me, don’t panic.’ Would you be satisfied?
“Those residents are somebodies mother, father and grandmother. I just have no more words. This is a nightmare, an absolute nightmare.”
“We literally are down to one care assistant for the day and one for the night. All the rest of our staff are positive.
“I don’t know what we can do we have contacted every agency (who supply relief staff).
“That was what the HSE told us to do. We have done that but they don’t have anybody. My understanding was in a situation like the this the HSE would help.
“We are a private nursing home and not part of the public system but our residents are citizens of this country. And the country has an obligation to ensure they are looked after.”
"I never cry and I have spent all day crying.”
A HSE spokesperson told The Sunday World: "The HSE are currently providing supports to a nursing home in East Galway. The situation emerged when a resident tested positive for Covid-19 on admission to Hospital on Sunday 18th October 2020.
"Following notification of the positive test result, Public Health West organised testing of all residents and staff the following day.
"The HSE Infection Prevention and Control Nurse also attended the nursing home on Monday 19th October and provided support and education for management and staff.
"The HSE is supporting the nursing home and is working to source staff. Additional supports include the provision of staff from Roscommon University Hospital. Community Healthcare West and Saolta University Hospital Group and staff are supporting the nursing home in the delivery of a safe and secure service."