TD calls for clarity on use of PPE in nursing homes
Concerns at limited use expressed as crisis worsens at Nursing Homes
People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith has said she will be asking the Health Minister to clarify if the HSE or the HPSC have instructed nursing homes not to use their stock of PPE until they have confirmed cases of Covid-19 at their residency.
She said a number of healthcare workers had contacted her to alert her to the practice and claims by managers at nursing homes that this was the general guidance.
The TD said this is extremely concerning and shows an utter lack of understanding of the vulnerability of residents and staff or the way this virus spreads.
She said: “It’s incredible that this instruction or guidance could be issued given what we know about the spread of Covid-19 from asymptomatic carriers.”
The TD said she will raise this at briefings and in the Dáil this week.
“It suggests again that a lack or shortage of PPE is hampering the fight by placing unrealistic and contrary pressure on staff not to use such vital equipment until it is almost too late. The use of PPE and especially masks should be a preventive measure to protect staff and residents. The HPSC guidance note I have seen specifically does not recommend the use of surgical face masks in situations other than contact with already confirmed cases of Covid-19.
“Health care workers who have contacted me are frightened and worried about their patients and the possibility of carrying the virus home to their families. It is beyond belief that any nursing home would not be using PPE as a matter of routine. Fears of running out of PPE seem to be contributing to the spread of the virus and we need the minister to reassure all workers and residents that this should not be a consideration.”