Nursing home providers are ultimately responsible for admissions to their homes. They must ensure that the premises of a designated centre are appropriate to the number and needs of the residents of that centre and in accordance with the statement of purpose. To further assist nursing homes the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has developed substantial public health guidance. The guidance, which is under constant review, is available on the HPSC’s website.
Guidance on resident admissions, transfers and discharges is addressed in the “Interim Public Health, Infection Prevention & Control Guidelines on: Admissions, Transfers to and Discharges from Long Term Residential Care Facilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic V1.1 21.09.2020 and also in the Interim Public Health, Infection Prevention & Control Guidelines on the Prevention and Management of COVID-19 Cases and Outbreaks in Residential Care Facilities V6.1 03/11/2020.”
The guidance sets out the measures that should be adopted in relation to admissions to residential facilities. It notes that over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been significant learning about the role of testing for COVID-19 and its role in determining levels of asymptomatic infection and tracking spread of infection, especially in congregated settings, such as Residential Care Facilities. All transfers or new admissions should have a risk assessment, to ensure sufficient resources are available within the residential care facility (RCF) to support social distancing and patient placement. Testing for COVID-19 should be undertaken for the admission of patients with no diagnosis or clinical suspicion of COVID-19 from acute hospital to an RCF within the 3 days prior to discharge from the acute hospital. In general residents transferred or directly admitted to an RCF should be accommodated in a single room (or room with no other residents) for 14 days after arrival and monitored for new symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during that time. The detailed guidance developed to support providers provides further details and considerations in relation to this matter.
I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the query on the number of tests that have been carried out.