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News release: Sage Advocacy welcomes resumption of visits to nursing homes from June 15 but warns of lessons to be learned from the impact of Covid-19 June 14, 2020

Sage Advocacy, which supports vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients, says families and friends across the country are counting down the minutes until they can visit and see, in person, their loved ones in nursing homes and residential care facilities.

But Sage Advocacy has warned that the impact of Covid-19 on the nursing home sector underlines why the private nursing home sector must be urgently ‘integrated’ into the wider framework of health and social care.

Mervyn Taylor, Executive Director, Sage Advocacy, said many families had suffered heartbreak and loss during the pandemic.

Mr Taylor said : “We know there are many families and friends today who are grieving over the loss of a loved one and we also recognise how difficult it has been for nursing staff, carers and all workers in care homes and residential care facilities.

“We need to learn important lessons from the impact of Covid-19 and acknowledge that it is time to integrate private nursing homes into the wider framework of health and social care and ensure that there are clear responsibilities for clinical and infection control oversight of all congregated care facilities for older people at both regional and national level and arrangements put in place for necessary supports in the event of a resurgence of the pandemic’’

This week Sage Advocacy will provide evidence to the Covid 19 Nursing Home Expert Panel, established by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD.

In its submission to the panel Sage Advocacy has warned that it is unclear who is ultimately responsible for clinical care in nursing homes and there are no guidelines regarding the ratio and skills of nurses relative to numbers and needs of residents and the minimum levels of medical cover required.

Sage Advocacy’s core message to the Covid 19 Nursing Home Expert Panel is:

“Integrate private nursing homes into the wider framework of health and social care, ensure clear responsibilities for oversight over all congregated care facilities for older people at both regional and national level and arrangements for intervention and re-deployment of relevant staff across sectors in line with future pandemic planning”. 

In its submission to the Covid 19 Nursing Home Expert Panel Sage Advocacy also stressed that it has long been committed to the development of a single tier integrated statutory system of long term support and care covering domestic homes and nursing homes, and a much wider variety of options in between.

“The system should be deliberately biased towards home; which is where the vast majority of people want to live, and to die.

“Given the experiences arising from Covid-19 we are convinced that plans for a standalone statutory system for home care separate from the Nursing Home Support Scheme should be dropped. We are aware that there are substantial numbers of people inappropriately placed in nursing homes against their will because of a lack of community-based alternatives and nothing short of a single tier integrated system of support and care will prevent this.”

Ends

For further information please contact Francess McDonnell: 087 1738762

Mervyn Taylor, Executive Director, Sage Advocacy, is available for additional comment or interview.

(link to submission: https://www.sageadvocacy.ie/news/2020/june/sage-advocacy-makes-submission-to-covid-19-nursing-home-expert-panel-read-it-in-the-sage-page )

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