Relatives of those who died in Dealgan House hold photos of loved ones who passed away last year
Families of those who died in Dealgan House Nursing Home last year have met with the Chief Executive of the HSE, Paul Reid, and described the meeting as “frank and constructive”.
Six families of the 23 people who passed away in April 2020 in Dealgan House met with Mr Reid in a virtual meeting as part of their campaign for a public inquiry into the Dundalk nursing home.
The families met with Mr Reid, alongside Chief Operating Officer Ann O’Connor and Head of Community Care David Walsh, with the meeting lasting almost 90 minutes.
“We acknowledge the sympathy expressed to us by Mr Paul Reid and the HSE staff to us on the loss of our loved ones, and it is appreciated,” said the families in a statement.
“We were happy to meet with Mr Paul Reid and pleased that Mr Paul Reid followed through on his commitment to us a number of months ago that he would listen to what we had to say.
“We had two main questions for Mr Paul Reid and the HSE team. The first is how did it come to be that the RSCI Hospital Group assumed operational control of Dealgan House on 17th April 2020?”
The families say that they knew of a risk assessment that the HSE completed on April 16th 2020, which detailed concerns that the HSE had for the welfare of residents of Dealgan House and that a Clincial Assessment of residents was needed.
“We wish to know why was this Risk Assessment deemed necessary, the full details of this Risk Assessment and its outcomes and recommendation and on whose instruction this Risk Assessment was completed.”
In a statement to the Democrat, a spokesperson for the HSE said that they offered their condolences to those who died in Dealgan House last April.
“The HSE offers its deep condolences to all those who have lost loved ones to the COVID-19 virus. At the meeting regarding Dealgan House the Chief Executive Officer, Paul Reid also expressed his regret personally, acknowledging the sad loss that had been experienced by the family members,” said the spokesperson.
The families are also seeking clarity on what happened between Easter Sunday, April 11th 2020, when Mr Reid and senior management of the HSE first became aware of issues within Dealgan House and April 17th, when the facility was taken over by the RCSI.
According to the families, Mr Reid couldn’t provide detailed answers to their questions but committed to come back to them with answers.
“It was agreed that if the HSE has any additional information relevant to the questions that had been raised it will be provided to the families and the HSE is to revert in relation to this,” said the HSE spokesperson.
“At the family members’ request, any such information will be provided as soon as possible.”
According to the families, they found the meeting with Mr Reid and HSE staff useful, and hope to hear back from them soon.
“We feel that the meeting with Mr Reid was useful and the additional feedback we hope Mr Reid and his team will provide will complete another piece of the jigsaw in terms of us, as families, trying to put together the definitive account of what happened to our loved ones,” said the families.
“However, the only way that the full accurate story can be told is through an independent public inquiry and we call on the government to concentrate over the summer recess on putting together a mechanism for this to happen as soon as possible.”
According to the families, Mr Reid also committed to providing information surrounding the cohorting of symptomatic residents, who were not confirmed to have Covid-19, in a communal room in Dealgan House.
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