Simon Harris, Minister for Health
State assistance is on the way for private and voluntary nursing homes in Laois and elsewhere.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced further measures to support nursing homes residents in the response to Covid-19.
Earlier this week the National Public Health Emergency Team recommended additional measures required to further support nursing home residents and staff.
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 personal protective equipment (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.
Forty coronavirus infection clusters have been found at nursing homes in Ireland, with 32 of these at care homes in the east.
The State will give additional funding to nursing homes that require it. It is envisaged that the scheme will operate for a 3- month period. It will be reviewed after the first month’s operation.
It is intended that there will be two components parts of the Scheme which will be integrated:
i. Assistance for nursing homes subject to a standard threshold;
ii. Enhanced outbreak assistance business case (for the same period) in the event of COVID-19 outbreak.