Minister for Health announces enhanced measures to support nursing home residents in response to Covid-19

Simon Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced further measures to support nursing homes residents in the context of the overarching response to Covid-19.

Earlier this week the National Public Health Emergency Team recommended additional measures required to further support nursing home residents. A range of enhanced measures were recommended to assist residents and staff in nursing homes.

Staff screening will start in nursing homes twice a day, Covid-19 testing will be prioritised for staff and the HSE will provide access to PPE, expert advice and training. Importantly each nursing home will be identifying a Covid-19 lead.

Staff movement across residential facilities will be minimised and the HSE will support staff with alternative accommodation and transport, if required.

In addition to these measures, a temporary Covid-19 Financial Support Scheme is being introduced by Government and will be established in the coming days, to support the critical services provided by nursing homes.

The scheme will provide a temporary assistance payment to support private and voluntary nursing homes in managing any outbreak that occurs.  It is envisaged that the scheme will operate for a 3 month period. It will be reviewed after the first month’s operation.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “The nursing home sector cares for one of the most precious, and vulnerable groups in our society.  We must do everything we can to support them to help break the transmission of the virus.

“To this end we are extending supports to this sector so that they can continue their role in the overall public health response to Covid-19. Our goal, in these challenging times, is to protect our older people, wherever they are living.

“We must also support staff working in nursing homes, and ensure their safety and health as we continue to deal with this pandemic.

“It is vital we leave nobody behind as we navigate our way out of this pandemic.”

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