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Sage Advocacy welcomes the publication of the Covid-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel (NHEP) report to the Minister for Health August 19, 2020

Sage Advocacy welcomes the publication of the Covid-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel (NHEP) report to the Minister for Health and in particular their recommendations regarding clinical governance and the future of long term care.

In our submission and in our stakeholder meetings with the NHEP Sage Advocacy highlighted our concerns about who was ‘’ultimately responsible for clinical care in nursing homes’’ and that ‘’there are no HIQA standards with regard to the levels and skills of nursing care and with regard to clinical governance and the level of medical cover in many nursing homes’’.

Mervyn Taylor, Executive Director of Sage Advocacy, which is a support and advocacy service for vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients, said he strongly welcomes the fact that the NHEP has listened and responded to these concerns.

‘’We thank the NHEP for their careful consideration of the many challenging issues brought before them.  We support the recommendations set out in the NHEP report that ‘a clinical governance oversight committee should be established in all nursing homes and its inclusion in the regulatory framework should be considered’.

‘The NHEP also acknowledged that there is a need for clarity on clinical governance of all residential care facilities private, public and voluntary at regional and national level and that the current model of private residential care for older people has no formal clinical governance links to the wider HSE. We believe all of this must be urgently addressed.’’

Mr Taylor said the implementation of the 86, short and long term, recommendations put forward in the NHEP report must be a key priority for the Government in tandem with forward planning for further Covid-19-related outbreaks and seasonal winter-flu.

“We will be closely watching how the Government responds to the NHEP report and monitoring the implementation of its recommendations,” he added.

Sage Advocacy is also adamant that there should be zero delay in implementing a key recommendation in the report – that ‘’meaningful communications with residents and families should take place regularly’’.

The organisation also hopes that HIQA and nursing home providers will embrace the recommendation by the NHEP to “highlight and promote independent advocacy services available to residents”.

Mr Taylor said: “In their report the NHEP stressed that ‘person-centredness is key and that every effort should be made to preserve the choice, autonomy and needs of all residents at all times’.

“This has been integral to Sage Advocacy from day one – we believe the right to have your voice heard and to participate in making decisions which affect you is a fundamental principle.

‘’Our approach is nothing about you/ without you – and this is of crucial importance for residents of nursing homes or any congregated care setting.’’


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