At Houlihan Solicitors we are actively taking personal injury claims on behalf of families who have tragically lost their loved ones due to them contracting Covid-19 whilst resident in private nursing homes. Over the past 18 months the Covid-19 virus has shown no mercy and some of the most vulnerable members of our society placed their trust on many nursing home operators to keep them safe from this deadly virus.
To date it is reported that there have been over 5,000 deaths in Ireland caused by the virus, with just more than half of these occurring in Nursing Homes. The third wave of the pandemic was the most severe in which Nursing Homes suffered devastating outbreaks of the disease, in January and February of this year there were more than 200 nursing home outbreaks, adding up to more than a third of deaths.
The shocking death toll has led to calls for a national inquiry into how Covid-19 wreaked such havoc on nursing homes. In several instances Nursing Homes had inadequate supplies of PPE, oxygen and palliative care medicines, deficient trace testing measures in order to prevent the spread of infection and to safeguard their residents. Gaps and shortcomings have been uncovered by the nursing home regulatory body namely HIQA. Many nursing homes had outdated premises, multiple occupancy rooms and shared facilities that were not appropriate to provide the quality of care to loved ones in order to protect them from the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
It was revealed that nursing homes were provided with extra financial support of up to €800 per patient per month. The Government set up a scheme at a cost of €72 million which represented a spend of €3,000 for each of the 24,000 long term residents in nursing home care in Ireland. Each nursing home in Ireland was required to appoint an infection protection advisor, to prepare a Covid-19 preparation plan and designated at least one full time staff member as their lead contact point.
While it cannot be denied that nursing homes were faced with an unprecedented situation in relation to Covid-19, it is evident that more should have been done to protect the vulnerable within these facilities. Questions must be asked in order to understand why and how this virus penetrated the barriers that ought to have been in place to protect loved ones.
If you have lost a loved one who was resident in a nursing home due to Covid-19, we no doubt imagine that you may have many questions that need to be answered. There are strict time constraints under operation pursuant to the Civil Liability Act, 1961 which allows a 2 year window to initiate proceedings from the date of death of your loved one. If you wish to find out more about your legal rights in relation to your situation, get in touch with us today by phone 061 599661 or by email [email protected]