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Nursing Home CEO praises staff as Covid-19 battle continues

The CEO of Brookhaven Healthcare, which manages Droimnin Nursing Home in Stradbally, has praised the efforts of staff in trying to manage the Covid-19 outbreak there.

Gearóid Brennan says that staff who have tested negative and are still working are now staying in a building on the site of the nursing home.

According to Mr Brennan, the staff are staying away from their own families to limit the risk of catching the virus which allows them to continue to provide care for the residents.

He said: “Our staff did a fantastic job in managing to keep Covid outside of the doors of our nursing home for so long.

“But the disease has just taken off in the community and that unfortunately meant that it was always going to be very difficult to keep it outside of the residential care centre.

“Since the positive cases emerged, the staff have put their collective shoulder to the wheel and they have been unstinting in their efforts.

“They have been absolutely brilliant. We have a second building which we have kitted out for staff for isolation and our staff are actually staying in that building now.

“They are doing this and not going home in an effort to minimise the risk of further spread among the residents.

“They are truly remarkable people who are willing to stay away from their own families in a bid to care for the residents.

“I couldn’t speak highly enough of them. They have volunteered for extra shifts which has become necessary because some staff have become infected which means they cannot work.

“The biggest challenge you face in a nursing home is losing your staff to the virus because it is very hard to replace them in this climate and then your workload grows for the remaining staff members.

“We have had some support from the HSE and we are lucky that we have other nursing homes in our group that can provide some staff too on a temporary basis.

“We are working our way through it and have taken all the measures that we can – including bringing in external infection prevention, control and cleaning services plus external laundry services to support the centre.”

40 of the 65 residents have tested positive while 15 of the nursing home’s 75 staff are also positive for Covid. While one resident has sadly passed away.

But Mr Brennan revealed that the majority of these are thankfully asymptomatic.

He said: “Thank God, the vast majority of the residents are asymptomatic.

“But we are watching them all closely and giving them all the support that we can.

“We are also in close contact with their families too.”

Mr Brennan also praised the community in Stradbally for all of the kindness they have shown the staff and residents throughout the pandemic since March.

He said: “I’d really like to thank the people of Stradbally because they have been a fantastic support to us throughout the pandemic.

“They held vigils, lit candles and did all kinds of things to lift the spirits of the residents throughout the year which was much appreciated.

“People came up and donated iPads so residents could keep in contact with family members – the who community in Stradbally have been so kind to us.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.