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Relatives call for investigation into death of 25 residents at Ballynoe Nursing Home

CORK: Relatives have called for an inquiry into the deaths of 25 inmates infected with COVID-19 at a nursing home in Cork. Relatives are seeking an inquiry into how half of all residents of the Ballynoe Nursing Home in Upper Glanmire could have died, as well as the failure of nursing home authorities to provide timely information about loved ones.

The relatives came up with the demand after the nursing home administrator CareChoice apologised for not communicating and interacting with them. Hiqa, who manages the nursing homes, had recently inspected the home to investigate the death.

Heartbreaking stories

Relatives claim that loved ones were accidentally infected with the deadly virus. It was on January 13, a few residents and staff were infected with the virus. The relatives also alleged that they were excluded from the rooms where they had lived for years due to being COVID positive.

The way relatives witnessed their loved ones dying has also been raised as a problem. One family had to watch their mother die through a locked window for two hours.

The real issue

On January 13, senior staff informed relatives that the COVID infection had been confirmed in the Ballynoe nursing home. The notification was that two staff members and a few residents were positive for COVID-19 and they were in isolation.

The follow-up email received on January 27 stated that the COVID-19 was continuing and that many employees and staff were tested positive.

All the families have been given direct advice, the mail said. The staff member informed that the visit has been suspended except in serious circumstances. Relatives were also told that if their loved ones tested positive for Coronavirus, they would be contacted “on a daily basis to update them on their wellbeing”. But relatives say they have not received daily updates. Almost everyone says they had to keep in touch at the nursing home to get information.

TD Mick Barry says nursing home tragedy will be questioned in the Dail

Solidarity-PBP TD Mick Barry came out in support of the demand for an inquiry into the matter. This demand is expected to become a big controversy in the Dail next week.

“The stories being told by relatives are heartbreaking. They also raise very serious questions indeed. I believe these questions deserve detailed answers and explanations,” TD Barry said.

I am calling for a full Hiqa investigation to be organised to find out exactly what happened here. I also will be raising this issue in the Dáil next week,” he added.

CareChoice Chief Executive with explanation

CareChoice chief executive Gerry Moore said: “We offer our sincere condolences to every family member and friend of our residents who have passed during this very significant Covid19 outbreak in our Ballynoe Nursing Home.

“We would like them to know that the thoughts of every CareChoice staff member are with them at this difficult time. At all times throughout this difficult and unprecedented time at our Ballynoe Nursing Home, our focus has been on delivering the best possible care to all of our residents.”

“We fully accept that at times our communications and interactions with the families was not of our usual standard, and we would like to acknowledge the hurt this has caused and apologise to the families. We are contacting all of the families directly to discuss their concerns and issues,” Gerry Moore said.

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