Galway nursing home hit with Covid outbreak "feel abandoned" by HSE

ireland
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Digital Desk Staff

A nursing home in the Roscommon-Galway region has been left in a state of ‘absolute emergency’ after the majority of staff and 26 of the 28 residents tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nightingale Nursing Home in Lowville, Ahascragh, Ballinasloe, has been left with just one nurse, one care assistant, a chef, and a food server after all other staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the director of nursing there.

As the Roscommon Herald reports, Patricia McGowan, who herself has tested positive for Covid-19, said she has begged for help from the HSE but the remaining two nursing staff have been left on their own.

Speaking on RTÉ radio's Liveline programme, Ms McGowan confirmed that the majority of residents at the nursing home had tested positive for Covid-19.

"We are trying to keep our residents alive...we really feel abandoned," she said of the HSE's response.

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The HSE told her "not to panic" and to "leave it with them."

"The HSE sent us a nurse and a carer last night, it took the pressure off.

"It's uncivilised, we just want our older people to stay safe and the bottom line is, to stay alive."

A resident of the Nightingale Nursing Home had been admitted to Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe with Covid-19.

Subsequently the entire nursing home was tested on Monday and the remaining 25 out of 27 residents were found to be positive for the virus when the results came back on Tuesday night. All but four staff members were also found to have coronavirus.

One person has passed away and two other residents are to be admitted to hospital later today, Ms McGowan said.

Private nursing home

Ms McGowan said the HSE did provide a night nurse last night and had promised to send two carers to assist today (Thursday) but when the sole nurse who tested negative for the virus turned up for work she was left alone with the care assistant.

“That was going to dig us out of a hole but nobody showed up. Those two girls down there are just running on adrenaline."

“I have no solid symptoms, I am not sick. I would go down there to help except I am not allowed to,” she added.

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“I just cannot understand. Our residents- yes they are in a private nursing home, but they are citizens of this country and the State has an obligation to look after them.

They (the HSE) are not giving us the help. They kept batting it back to us saying: ‘Go and find agency staff.’ But we cannot get any,” she said.

A tearful Ms McGowan said that if more help is not sent in soon the nursing home will have no choice but to admit the residents into hospital.

“We kept it out for so long, but this just happened. It is a virus. And when it did happen we got no help. Nobody cares- that is how we feel,” she said.

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