Up to 20% of Donegal nursing homes had Covid-19 outbreaks in first wave

Report finds many of the factors that contributed to outbreaks were outside the control of the nursing homes

HIQA

Analysis by Hiqa of the 572 registered nursing homes in Ireland showed the probability of an outbreak occurring in a nursing home increased with rising community incidence

Up to 20% of nursing homes or long-term care facilities in Donegal have had confirmed outbreaks of Covid-19 in the first wave of the disease, a new report shows.

The report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), shows between 10% and 20% of the 22 such facilities in the county had outbreaks in the first wave of the disease with that dropping to below 10% in the second wave.

The report found residents of long-term care facilities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 in terms of incidence, morbidity and mortality.

It found no link between the probability of an outbreak and whether a home was publicly or privately operated.

Analysis of the 572 registered nursing homes in Ireland showed the probability of an outbreak occurring in a nursing home increased with rising community incidence. Other factors included the number of beds within the home and the presence of other nursing homes in close proximity.

Many of the factors that contributed to outbreaks were outside the control of the nursing homes, the report found.

The report, Factors Associated With Outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in Nursing Homes, found smaller outbreaks were associated with nursing homes having previously experienced an outbreak of Covid-19. The proportion of residents in a nursing home affected by an outbreak decreased with an increasing number of beds.

Dr Conor Teljeur, Hiqa’s chief scientist, said: “Older people, particularly those who are frail or medically compromised, are at a higher risk of poor outcomes from Covid-19. Those living in nursing homes have been severely impacted, with a disproportionate number of deaths during the early stages of the pandemic. Given their vulnerability to Covid-19, there has been an emphasis on safeguarding this population.

“We have outlined factors that were associated with outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in nursing homes during the first and second waves of the pandemic in Ireland. Many of these factors we identified are outside the control of the nursing homes. Also, when comparing publicly and privately operated nursing homes, we noted no significant differences. However, the analysis was limited due to the lack of reliable and consistent data across nursing homes for a number of potentially important factors.”

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